China and Europe in talks to create 'moon village'

Home, sweet home?
TOM DULAT/GETTY IMAGES

Home, sweet home?

It's been many years since man was last on the moon, but humans may return - for a much longer stay - if talks between China and Europe go well.

Representatives of China and the European Space Agency are discussing potential collaboration on a human outpost on the moon and other possible joint endeavors, according to a spokesman for the European agency and Chinese media reports.

The secretary general for China's space agency, Tian Yulong, first disclosed the talks about the envisioned lunar base in Chinese state media. They were confirmed Wednesday (local time) by Pal Hvistendahl, a spokesman for the European Space Agency, or ESA.

China's space programme has developed rapidly in recent years.
CHINA DAILY

China's space programme has developed rapidly in recent years.

"The Chinese have a very ambitious moon programme already in place," Hvistendahl said. "Space has changed since the space race of the '60s. We recognise that to explore space for peaceful purposes, we do [need] international cooperation."

READ MORE:
* SpaceX taking tourists to the moon
* New insight into how Earth's moon formed
* How space could be ruined by trash
* NZ space industry prepares for takeoff

The director general of the 22-member ESA, Johann-Dietrich Woerner, has described its proposed "Moon Village" as a potential international launching pad for future missions to Mars and a chance to develop space tourism or even lunar mining.

The European Space Agency has an agreement with the NZ government that sees it promote space to students living in Southland.
ESA

The European Space Agency has an agreement with the NZ government that sees it promote space to students living in Southland.

China arrived relatively late to space travel but has ramped up its programme since its first manned spaceflight in 2003, more than 42 years after a Soviet cosmonaut became the first to reach orbit.

Last week the China National Space Administration launched an unmanned spacecraft on a mission to dock with its currently unoccupied space station. It plans to launch a mission to collect samples from the moon by the end of this year and next year conduct the first mission to the moon's far side and bring back mineral samples.

The ESA hopes to conduct a mission analysis on samples brought back by this year's Chinese mission, known as Chang'e 5, and also have a European flying on the Chinese space station at some future date, Hvistendahl said. Neither prospect has been finalised.

China was excluded from the International Space Station mainly due to US legislation barring such cooperation and concerns over the Chinese space programme's strong military connections.

Ad Feedback

 - AP

Comments

Ad Feedback
special offers
Ad Feedback