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Despite Brexit, UK, France plan closer space cooperation

media Fly me to the moon? Emmanuel Macron andTheresa May meet in Sandhurst on Thursday REUTERS/Stefan Rousseau

Britain may be leaving the European Union but it plans to reach for the stars with the French. The two countries' space agencies signed an agreement to work together on Mars exploration and monitoring climate change during President Emmanuel Macron's meeting with Prime Minister Theresa May in Sandhurst on Thursday.

A statement signed by UK Space Agency chief Alice Bunn and her French counterpart, Jean-Yves Le Gall, at the Sandhurst military academy focuses on exploring Mars, space applications and the European space programme, statements by both parties said.

It was an extension of a "framework arrangement" agreed at a Royal Air Force base in Brize Norton during previous president François Hollande's visit to the UK in 2014.

The two countries are already working together on observing the earth from space and monitoring climate change.

Now they plan develop the use of infrared atmospheric sounding to improve weather forecasting and work sith the US's Nasa to monitor the world's waters.

Mars and climate change

They are also considering a partnership to explore Mars.

But climate change was top of the agenda, with a commitment to work for the creation of a Space Climate Observatory, which the world's space agencies agreed to set up at the One Planet Summit in Paris last year.

France and Britain hope to "nurture space hubs and ecosystems that will help to support humanitarian relief efforts around the globe in response to the increasing number of natural disasters being fuelled by climate change", the British statement said.

And they are involved in the MicroCarb project to survey and map C02 emissions.

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