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My commiserations to Chris Dyson for just missing out on the competition to design a new Mars simulator facility for the European Space Agency ( ajplus 20.02.06).

The brilliantly ambitious scheme - featuring a 'ring of boffins' no less - was surely far more interesting than anything the winning team of German engineers will come up with.

But perhaps Dyson ought to reconsider his choice of collaborators in the future, with serial space blunderer Colin Pillinger perhaps not the best person to offer advice in this case.

James Carless, by email

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