Moon Village: China And Europe Plan Collaboration To Build Human Outpost On Lunar Surface
(Photo : European Space Agency, ESA/YouTube screenshot)
China is reportedly in talks with the European Space Agency (ESA) to collaborate on building a Moon Village, which will be a human outpost on Earth’s natural satellite. Tian Yulong, the secretary general for China's space agency, disclosed the talks to Chinese state media recently.
According to Los Angeles Times, ESA Director General Johann-Dietrich Woerner has described its proposed Moon Village as a possible international launching pad for future missions to Mars. Furthermore, building a Moon base will also open the doors to space tourism or even mining on the lunar surface in the future.
"The Chinese have a very ambitious moon program already in place," ESA spokesman Pal Hvistendahl said, The New York Times reported. "Space has changed since the space race of the '60s. We recognize that to explore space for peaceful purposes, we do international cooperation."
China may have arrived relatively late to space travel compared to the erstwhile Soviet Union that sent a cosmonaut to orbit Earth in 1961. However, the nation has built up its program since the country’s first crewed spaceflight in 2003. In fact, just about last week, the China National Space Administration (CNSA) sent the unmanned cargo spacecraft Tianzhou-1 on a mission to dock with China’s currently unoccupied space station Tiangong-2.
The Chinese space agency also has plans to launch the Moon mission Chang'e 5 by the end of this year to collect lunar samples. ESA hopes to conduct a mission analysis on samples brought back by the Chang'e 5 mission. Furthermore, Hvistendahl has also stated that ESA wants to have a European astronaut fly on the Chinese space station in the future. However, at present, both prospects have not been finalized. Incidentally, China also wants to send another mission next year to the Moon’s far side and bring back mineral samples.