You might want to start planning ahead for your future vacation – in 20 years, you could be taking a holiday on the moon.
Head of the European Space Agency, Johann-Dietrich Woerner has revealed ideas for an international ‘Moon Village’ that combines the capabilities of space-faring nations around the world.
This settlement – which could be available by 2030 – would be built using natural resources from the lunar surface to create a permanent base for the purpose of science, business, and even tourism.
Woerner describes the proposed Moon Village in a recent video released by the Esa.
Roughly 50 years after humans first walked on the moon, Woerner says the next step is to establish a permanent base that can be used similarly to the International Space Station.
The expert recommends settlement at the poles or in areas of constant daylight on the far side of the moon.
At the South Pole, in a region of continuous darkness, humans could access water to produce hydrogen and oxygen.
And in the shadow of the moon, he explains, settlers would be protected from incoming cosmic and solar radiation.
These locations would also reduce risks of micrometeorites, and extreme temperatures.
This would be a suitable location to build a radio telescope with the moon’s natural resources, in lieu of bringing materials from Earth.
The Moon Village idea aims to be a versatile facility that opens the door for deeper space exploration, while also acting as a hub for business or mining.
And, the expert says it could be used recreationally for tourists.
To turn the Moon Village into a possibility, the Esa Director General says collaboration would be necessary, with each nation contributing its own piece of expertise, be it robotic or human.
The expert suggests tapping into the water-ice, metals, and minerals naturally found on the moon in order to print 3D building elements or entire structures for the construction and maintenance of the base.
First, a rover would set down on the moon and inflate a dome, around which more rovers would then begin to construct a building, Woerner proposes.
This structure would be used to protect astronauts.
The plan would start with smaller landing missions, which the expert notes many countries are already working on, and the establishment of a radio telescope on the far side of the moon, which would require larger investment.
While many nations – in particular the US – have their sights set on the journey to Mars, Woerner says a Moon Village is a closer reality.
‘I totally agree that this is right, humans will go to Mars one day,’ Woerner says in the video,’ but this is a little bit far away in the future.’
The ESA Director General says the Moon Village would join American, Russian, Chinese, Indian, and Japanese space agencies, along with smaller contributions from other countries.
The technology is an estimated 20 years from achieving this goal, but the expert says a moon settlement is a necessity and could be ‘the next giant leap for human kind.’