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ESA Teams Up With Russian Roscosmos on Lunar Mission

Sep 22, 2016 05:08 AM EDT
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The European Space Agency (ESA) plans to work with the Russia's Roscosmos space agency in exploring the moon.
(Photo : DasWortgewand / Pixabay)

The European Space Agency (ESA) plans to work with Russia on flying to the moon.

Rene Pischel, head of ESA's permanent mission in Russia, earlier announced the agency's plan to cooperate with Russian federal space agency Roscosmos on lunar research, Sputnik News reports.

"If the Agency's member states give their go-ahead at the upcoming ministerial conference in December 2016, ESA will cooperate with Russia in exploring the moon," Pischel told Sputnik News.

In the same report, deputy chief of Roscosmos Sergei Savelyev confirmed that both space agencies have been in talks about joint lunar missions to continue their collaboration on the ExoMars program. According to Savelyev, Russia was already working on some lunar projects and identifying areas of potential cooperation with ESA.

ESA also plans to create a "Moon Village," which is a permanent outpost on the surface of the moon for both human and robotic mission potentially created through 3D printing.

"Moon village is a very special thing," Jan Woerner, director general of ESA, told IBTimes UK during ESA's Space for Innovation conference. "Moon village is something where we put exploration at the center. It is in the human genes to explore the world, to pioneer, this is Moon village."

But according to David Parker, director of Human Spaceflight and Robotic Exploration at ESA, there are many challenges that need to be addressed first.

"To solve the challenges of living and working on the Moon or Mars, there are a lot of challenges about physical challenges - how will the body react? How can we protect astronauts from radiation?" Parker told IBTimes UK.

"But there are also the psychological factors of how do they cope with the environment, how does food affect them, happy, unhappy. All of these things are important so we want to do as much as we can on Earth before we go there for real."

The ExoMars program, which is a joint mission between ESA and Roscosmos, aims to dig for Martian life underground. The spacecraft launched on March 14 from the Baikonur space center in Kazakhstan on board a Proton-M carrier rocket and plans to intercept Mars and land a rover on Oct.19. The spacecraft consists of the Schiaparelli landing demonstrator module and the Trace Gas Orbiter (TGO).

Earlier in August, the ExoMars spacecraft made its first deep-space maneuver since it launched in March, adjusting the flight trajectory ahead of its planned arrival on the Red Planet.

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