Moon village the first stop to Mars: ESA
Setting up a permanent village on the moon is the first step toward exploring Mars, the European Space Agency said Thursday as plans to reach and colonize the Red Planet gathered pace.
At an annual gathering of 4,000 global space experts in Adelaide, the ESA said the Moon was the “right place to be” as humans expand economic activities beyond low-Earth orbit, even while Mars remained the “ultimate destination.”
“We have been living in lowEarth orbit for the last 17 years on board a space station and we are on our journey to Mars for the first human mission,” ESA’s Piero Messina told AFP at the congress.
“In between, we believe that there is an opportunity to create a permanent ... sustainable presence on the surface of the Moon.”
Reaching and colonizing Mars have been viewed by private and public interests as the next stage in exploring the final frontier, and has been a key part of this year’s International Astronautical Congress in Adelaide.
Messina said the more immediate goal was to have a permanent presence on the Moon, even if it was just a robot, by the end of the next decade.
“There are a series of missions planned to the moon over the next 10 years, and all these missions will create a movement, a momentum, and will create a wealth of data that will enable building the village,” he added.