While NASA looks towards a manned mission to Mars, the European Space Agency (ESA) plans to make history without traveling to another planet, as the space agency plans to construct a lunar base in the 2.6-mile deep hole known Shackleton crater, Business Insider reported.
This new found enthusiasm for constructing a colony on the moon to replace the International Space Station comes from the incoming leader of the ESA, Johann-Dietrich Worner, who was quoted by Space.com as having said that it only seems “appropriate to propose a permanent moon station as the successor of ISS” and that such a station should be international.
It seems to be appropriate to propose a permanent moon station as the successor of ISS
Worner, whose appointment as the next direct general of the ESA was announced back in December of 2014, went on to say that “the moon station can be an important stepping stone for any further exploration in deep space” and in any case, the space community should prepare by “rapidly” discussing “post-ISS proposals” because the “end of ISS operations is very close” and “we better know what to do afterwards.”
While the ESA has recently endorsed the concept of utilizing a 3D printer to construct a moon base from local lunar materials, NASA looks to create 3D printed deep space habitats for deep space exploration, such as their upcoming manned mission to Mars which is scheduled for the 2030s.
The National Aeronautics and Space Administration announced back in May that it’s offering a $2.25 million prize to construct 3D printed deep space habits. The competition, which is called the 3-D Printed Habitat Challenge, is part of the U.S. space agency’s Centennial Challenges program.
In regards to a 3D printed lunar settlement, Scott Hovland with the ESA’s human spaceflight team was quoted by NASA as having said that the relatively new technology “offers a potential means of facilitating lunar settlement with reduced logistics from Earth” and that the “new possibilities this work opens up can then be considered by international space agencies as part of the current development of a common exploration strategy.”
3D printing offers a potential means of facilitating lunar settlement with reduced logistics from Earth (…) The new possibilities this work opens up can then be considered by international space agencies as part of the current development of a common exploration strategy.
In other lunar coverage here at Immortal News, China plans to strip mine the moon for a rare element known as Helium 3, which allows nuclear fusion to produce an immense amount of energy without the excess of radioactive waste.
What are your thoughts on the ESA’s plan to replace the International Space Station with a permanent base on the moon?