British politician and a Conservative MP Andrew Griffith, in charge of the space sector
The Conservative space minister has apparently confused Mars with the Sun.
Andrew Griffith, who has been in charge of the space sector since November, also mistook Jupiter for Saturn.
On a walk around the Science Museum in London, Mr Griffith pointed to an exhibit showing the surfaces of different planets, the House magazine reported. “Now we have got Mars,” he said, before being told by a member of museum staff that it was actually the Sun.
He went on to say “that one is Saturn”, after the display changed, before the employee said “no, no, that is Jupiter”, according to the magazine.
Insisting he is learning on the job as space minister, he said: “I’m not an encyclopaedia.”
In an interview with the House, Mr Griffith also said he would not want to visit space, saying it is a “fascinating” but one “for other people”.
He said: “Would I want to be the first minister in space? I think the whole idea of space exploration is fascinating.
A year on from the failure of Britain’s first rocket launch, Mr Griffith insisted that the UK “is a great spacefaring nation”.
He added: “We’re one of about half a dozen countries in the world that have got real credibility in space.”
The former investment banker and businessman said that in order for humans to colonise Mars, “you’re going to need a lot of the British research and innovation that we’re funding right now”.
Peregrine Mission One, which was the first American attempt to land on the Moon in 50 years, was carrying an instrument built by UK scientists before its journey was brought to an end by a run of technical problems.
…Just consider that the man tasked with overseeing Britain's space program cannot even see the difference between the planet Mars and the Sun. Final loss of competencies and knowledge! Poor old Britain…
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