Europe & Russia team up to colonize Moon
Sunday, 18 October 2015


European and Russian space agencies have announced plans to join forces to build a permanent human settlement on the Moon.

The venture, named Luna 27, is set to launch its first mission in just five years time.


The first space trip will land on the previously unexplored South Pole of the Moon and assess whether there is water or any raw materials to create fuel and oxygen.

Researchers believe the uncharted side of the moon, parts of which are constantly shrouded in darkness, may contain ice.

Subsequent trips will then prepare for the return of humans to the surface and a permanent settlement.

Prof Igor Mitrofanov, of the Space Research Institute in Moscow, said: "We have to go to the Moon.

"The 21st Century will be the century when it will be the permanent outpost of human civilisation, and our country has to participate in this process."

He added that Russia will "have to work together with our international colleagues".
Bérengère Houdou, who is the head of the lunar exploration group at the European Space Agency (ESA), said: "We have an ambition to have European astronauts on the Moon.

"There are currently discussions at international level going on for broad cooperation on how to go back to the Moon."
The remarks echo Johann-Dietrich Wörner, the new head of the ESA, who announced just a week into his term that he plans to build a European base on the Moon's far side.

Although Russia is leading Lunar project, the ESA are developing new landing equipment, as well as a high-tech ice drill.
Europe's participation in the Russia-led mission still requires final approval from a meeting of ministers to take place late 2016.

However, the scientists involved in Luna 27 are confident that it is not a question of if but when humans return to the Moon's surface.
Dr James Carpenter, Esa's lead scientist on the project, said: "The South Pole of the Moon is unlike anywhere we have been before.

"The environment is completely different, and due to the extreme cold there you could find large amounts of water-ice and other chemistry which is on the surface, and which we could access and use as rocket fuel or in life-support systems to support future human missions we think will go to these locations."

Prof Mitrofanov claimed that a permanent human base would also provide huge commercial benefits as well as even a launch pad for trips to Mars.

He said: "It will be for astronomical observation, for the utilisation of minerals and other lunar resources and to create an outpost that can be visited by cosmonauts working together as a test bed for their future flight to Mars."

Richard Fisackerly the project's lead engineer added: "This whole series of missions feels like the beginning of the return to the Moon but it is also starting something new in terms of overall exploration of the Solar System."

 




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