ESA and China to Collaborate to Build Lunar Outpost, 'Moon Village'
A lunar outpost or a moon base has a bigger chance of being completed now that the China National Space Administration (CNSA) is allegedly discussing a collaboration with the European Space Agency (ESA). Both ESA and China have already expressed their intent to build a "moon village".
Reports say that ESA and CNSA have already started the discussions for a potential collaboration in building a moon village that will serve as a lunar outpost. The news surfaced from China's space agency, which ESA spokesperson later on confirmed.
"The Chinese have a very ambitious moon program already in place," Pal Hvistendahl, ESA spokesperson, said in a statement. "Space has changed since the space race of the '60s. We recognize that to explore space for peaceful purposes, we do international cooperation."
China has always expressed its interest in building a lunar outpost. It could be used as a pitstop to other destinations in the solar system, not to mention the abundant resources that can be mined from the Earth's satellite. CNSA also showcased its capability to build such outpost as it recently launched an unmanned cargo spacecraft to space.
Meanwhile, ESA's moon village is an already existing concept. There's no better way to ensure the success of their missions but to collaborate. However, in 2016, ESA clarified that their vision of a moon village is a global collaboration of ideas.
"By 'Moon Village' we do not mean a development planned around houses, some shops and a community center," an ESA official said. "Rather, the term 'village' in this context refers this: a community created when groups join forces without first sorting out every detail, instead simply coming together with a view to sharing interests and capabilities."
But collaborating with China on this one is definitely a step ahead of their plans and an actual lunar outpost could be built in the years to come. The lunar outpost could serve as a jump-off point for the mission to Mars, the obviously bigger and deeper space exploration initiative.
If ESA is working with China on the moon village, NASA is likely not to collaborate since the agency is banned from working with Chinese state staff when it comes to space-related projects.