European Space Agency’s Plans to Build a “Moon Village” Will Help Us Get to Mars and Beyond
While everyone is so focused on getting our asses to Mars (especially SpaceX with their announcement today), the European Space Agency still has its eye on a slightly closer destination: the Moon. Sure, astronauts have been there a few times—no matter what anyone tells you—but a permanent outpost on the Moon would be a huge step for science and human survival in space, not to mention a big help in setting up human habitats in deep space locations.
The idea isn’t that much different from that of the International Space Station, which has already seen its own life extended at least through 2024. The “Moon Village” would also be an international effort with crew coming and going from ESA member nations and other partners. It’s actual construction could be radically different, though, as the Moon has its own resources, unlike the emptiness that the ISS occupies in orbit around the Earth. Previously, ESA has put for the concept that it could be 3D printed right out of the Moon’s own dirt.
Such a ground-based, long term habitat would be a solid template for doing the same thing on other planets, as well, though Johann-Dietrich Wörner, ESA’s director general, stressed that Mars would be just the next step as opposed to a final destination. Space.com reports that, at the 32nd Space Symposium, Wörner said, “I think we should go first to the Moon and then further on. I would not call Mars the ultimate goal. I am quite sure humans will go further.”
That’s the kind of optimism we like to hear in the space race, and Wörner also mentioned that the “village” term was about bringing together people with different capabilities to form a community. The base would allow both public and private companies to come together and work on humanity’s journey beyond the Earth, out among the stars. That’s a future I can get behind. Also, I wouldn’t mind going to the Moon. Do you think they’ll be looking for someone with the capabilities to help them test whether fart jokes are still funny on other planets? I believe I’m uniquely qualified.
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