China And Europe To Build A Base On The Moon

Posted: Apr 26 2017, 10:40pm CDT | by , Updated: Apr 26 2017, 10:45pm CDT, in News | Latest Science News

 
China and Europe to Build a Base on the Moon
An artist 's impression of "Moon Village," Credit: ESA

China and European Space Agency are discussing collaboration on a human settlement on moon and other space activities

European Space Agency is aiming to build a settlement on moon in collaboration with China. Discussions are underway between the representatives of both sides. If the idea is approved, it would mark a key step toward China’s plan to gain strength in its space program.

“The Chinese have a very ambitious moon program already in place. Space has changed since the space race of the '60s. We recognize that to explore space for peaceful purposes, we do international cooperation.” Pal Hvistendahl, a spokesman for the European Space Agency (ESA) said.

ESA originally described its concept to build a lunar base or “Moon Village” last year. The base will serve as a potential international launching pad for future missions to Mars and a chance to develop space tourism or even lunar mining. The program was opened to all and any parties and nations. And now China is hoping to reach an agreement and to bring its expertise to the plan.

Space exploration is not an unfamiliar territory for China. The country is planning to reach the far side of the moon around 2018 and to send its first mission to Mars by 2020. If successful, China would become the first country to the dark side of the moon.

Though China didn’t invest heavily in their space program until the early 90s, the country is speeding up the development of its space industry ever since. China had conducted its first crewed space mission in 2003 and became only the third country after Russia and the U.S. to do so. It landed its Yutu rover on the moon in December 2013. It was the third such soft-landing in history and the first of its kind since the Soviet Union's mission nearly four decades ago. Yutu rover lasted for more than two years and improved researchers understanding of lunar surface.

More recently, China launched its first unmanned cargo spacecraft and also successfully completed docking with an orbiting space lab. It has been considered as a “crucial step” toward China's goal of having its own crewed space station by 2022.

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