Moon vil­lage the first stop to Mars: ESA

Global Times - - World -

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.

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