WHY THIS MATTERS IN BRIEF
ESA have laid out their plans to colonise the Moon by 2030.
The European Space Agency (ESA) is pressing forward with its plans to set up a permanent human outpost on the moon. Dubbed the “Moon Village” the vision will be the product of international collaboration between spacefaring nations and will act as the primary base of operations for science, business, mining and even tourism.
Johann-Dietrich Wörner, director general of the European Space Agency (ESA) told an audience in the Netherlands that the village will be able to be used by the international community as ESA looks to pave the way for manned missions to Mars – even though it looks like SpaceX’s CEO Elon Musk plans to bypass the moon and head straight for Mars itself in 2018.
“I think we should go first to the moon and then further on,” said Wörner, “and I wouldn’t call Mars the ultimate goal. I am quite sure humans will go further.” he added.
Wörner said the term Moon Village was coined intentionally to help people understand the purpose of such an outpost.
“A village is something where different people with different capabilities and different opportunities come together to build a community,” he said. “But it’s not the sort of village that will have some houses and a church.”
The idea, he added, is to bring together a variety of different actors from the public and private sectors.
NASA aims to get astronauts into the vicinity of Mars by 2030 and this ambitious effort too will require broad international co-operation. Either way there’s a growing consensus that lunar exploration is going to get a big shot in the arm in the next decade thanks to rising interest in it from around the world – if for no other reason that the spacefaring states want to more accurately assess the moons potential – both as an outpost and as the place to push the boundaries of science even further.
One day you’ll look up at the Moon and someone will be looking back…