Comments for en-gb 30 Thu 23 Oct 2014 21:27:31 GMT+1 A feed of user comments from the page found at Stephen Ashworth Re the ESA beauty contest, I strongly agree with alexgmcm. The fact that ESA considers asteroid sample return in the same funding bracket as cosmology satellites demonstrates that they have no idea what they are doing. Surveying and accessing the natural resources of near-Earth asteroids should be a high-priority task for space agencies quite separate from pure science missions.I suppose if Marco Polo is developed, it will be a highly expensive, much delayed, one-off mission, like ExoMars. But what we need is a probe that is small and cheap and can be mass-produced. There are thousands of near-Earth asteroids out there, and the first task must be to survey a representative sample of them, above all to establish their volatile content. Once a production line is in operation, with regular launches every few months, then we can start to develop the system towards sample return. But of course space agencies simply don't think like that, more's the pity.StephenOxford, UK. Wed 02 Dec 2009 13:48:25 GMT+1 Stephen Ashworth Jonathan,Re the International Space Station: the crew was expanded to six with much fanfare about six months ago. Now the crew is down to a caretaker crew of only two for three weeks, and since we've been told that the Shuttle is not carrying any more crew members on crew rotations, they won't be able to get the crew above five again, unless they use three Soyuzes at once. What's going on? Is this part of a plan, or just management incompetence?I think an investigative reporter needs to look into it!Thanks, Stephen. Tue 01 Dec 2009 17:55:12 GMT+1 luke I'd enjoy being choosen to take part in space exporation if it went to a public vote Tue 01 Dec 2009 15:06:28 GMT+1 Jonathan Amos @Devildead. Corrected. Many thanks. I am indebted. I couldn't pick a winner in a one-horse race. Tue 01 Dec 2009 08:16:18 GMT+1 sw01 Dear Jonathan, my congratulations, you've just scared to death a lot of people. There will be 2 (or maybe even 3) missions which will be selected from these 6. Please, read sites you are making links to more carefully. BTW, did you think to organize a gambling on which missions will pass? Would be interesting, I think. Mon 30 Nov 2009 21:29:34 GMT+1 Matthew Walsh Would gladly double my license fee for this kind of material to have a prime-time X-Factor slot.These are all incredibly worthy projects, and it's such a shame that we can't have all of them funded to completion. I agree with Alex above's sentiments favouring Marco Polo, however my second choice would be Euclid. Mon 30 Nov 2009 20:07:41 GMT+1 alexgmcm It is a shame that the funding situation is such that only one project is likely to be carried out. Based on the above descriptions and my rather limited knowledge I think I would like Marco-Polo or Cross-Scale to win simply because these seem to have the most applications.Marco-Polo would allow us to learn more about the composition of NEO's which is important to find out if 'asteroid mining' will ever be a useful endeavour. It will be interesting to see which project is chosen!Cross-Scale would enhance our knowledge of Plasma Physics, this could be useful as a better understanding of reconnection could aid the design of tokamaks in fusion power research such as the ITER project.Ideally, it would be possible to fund all the projects, but if funding is limited I think it should be focused on those that are likely to be of the most practical benefit. Mon 30 Nov 2009 19:04:12 GMT+1