The new Director General of the European Space Agency (ESA) envisions the building of a lunar village at the far side of the moon.
Quite futuristic for space exploration, but that is exactly why it is called the future.
"A moon village shouldn't just mean some houses, a church and a town hall," said Professor Johann-Dietrich Woerner in his new job for a week. To Woerner, the futuristic moon village calls for the world to bring together partners contributing to the community supported by robotic and astronaut missions, as well as support communication satellites.
The former Chair of the German space agency believes that going back to the moon and building a village on its far side will further help in a deeper exploration of the solar system.
Woerner, who now looks after Europe's new observation, navigation, weather and communication satellites, the International Space Station (ISS), missions to Mercury, Mars and Jupiter and a sleepy lander on a comet shaped like a duck, notes how interesting the lunar village could be.
"The Americans are looking to go to Mars very soon - and I don't see how we can do that - before going to Mars we should test what we could do on Mars on the Moon," added Woerner.
He explained that the giant 3D printer that NASA plans to use on a base in Mars could be better tried out first on the moon. The challenges of learning to live in an alien world could be made easier, especially in an emergency and when the extraterrestrial community is just four days away.
Meanwhile, the US wants to start sending missions to cis-lunar space. It is building the Orion deep spacecraft, along with the heavy lift Space Launch System to get astronauts most of the way to the moon. Europe proposes that there could be a place to live on the moon for these astronauts. NASA is still vague on where exactly to deploy the Orion; however, the US spacecraft and Europe's lunar village proposal could bring about international partnership in an exploration that Woernoer hopes could extend to the deeper end of the solar system.
According to Woerner, what makes it interesting is that we could have telescopes that look deep into the universe. Lunar science can be done on the moon, and the international aspect is special.
"We like to discover, to pioneer - this is humankind and this is what brings us into the future," said the new Director General who is in charge of an annual budget of € 4.4 billion.
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