(Update: To read a 2018 about the first commercial mission in 2019, read our article: “First 2019 commercial mission to the Moon will be European” )
At the final press conference of the 2 december 2016 Ministerial Conference, ESA Director General Jean Woerner, again expressed his and ESA’s commitment to the ESA Moon Village.
The ESA Moon Village is a proposed container idea to which Mr. Woerner hopes other interested parties would add their own idea input and contributions. In the article below Jean Woerner describes why the Moon Village is neither a project nor a programme and why that should be considered to be a good thing.
It wouldn’t hurt however if the Moon Village would receive a clearer outline, timeline and detail because parties are more easily seduced to participate if they can find themselves -atleast in part- in a vision for the future scientific exploration and maybe exploitation of the resources on the moon. Today it is not even clear what one has to do if one wants to join the effort and what technologies a company could start developing, or spin-in from their terrestrial operations, that would be a good addition to the mix.
Below you will find Jean Woerner’s description. In the next post, I will outline an alternative narration, that might offer some clues about what a well defined Moon Village Concept, a Moon Village 2.0 might look like.
“A vision for global cooperation and Space 4.0
Jan Woerner, ESA Director General
From the earliest astronomy to the space race, humankind has witnessed a constant evolution in the exploration and use of space. Now, with the International Space Station (ISS), an unparalleled level of cooperation has been achieved which has continued largely unaffected by any crises that may be occurring on Earth: many nations all pulling together, demonstrating day in, day out, just how important it is to invest in research and technology.
The paradigm shift that we see today in space activities is best encapsulated by the term ‘Space 4.0’, and the ‘Moon Village’ concept seeks to transform this paradigm shift into a set of concrete actions and create an environment where both international cooperation and the commercialisation of space can thrive.
The Moon Village concept was developed through a process of thorough analysis but it is vital to understand that what we are describing is neither a project nor a programme. By ‘Moon Village’ we do not mean a development planned around houses, some shops and a community centre. Rather, the term ‘village’ in this context refers this: a community created when groups join forces without first sorting out every detail, instead simply coming together with a view to sharing interests and capabilities.
The Moon Village is open to any and all interested parties and nations. There are no stipulations as to the form their participation might take: robotic and astronaut activities are equally sought after. You might see not only scientific and technological activities, but also activities based on exploiting resources or even tourism. It is precisely the open nature of the concept that would allow many nationalities to go to the Moon and take part while leaving behind them on Earth any differences of opinion.
From a scientific perspective, the Moon is truly fascinating, firstly as an archive of Earth’s early history, but also because you could site a radio telescope on the far side of the Moon and stare deep into the Universe without any interference from humanmade signals. For future space missions, you could develop and test methods based on new technologies, such as additive manufacturing, that could potentially make use of locally available resources.
It is clear that in the future, humans will take part in crewed flights farther into the Solar System, so the Moon Village could also act as the perfect springboard and testing ground with that objective in mind.
The Moon Village concept has the potential, by providing fascination and inspiration in equal measure, to awaken renewed interest in STEM subjects, with benefits being felt well beyond the world of space. Now we must bring interested parties together so as to achieve at least some degree of coordination and exploitation of potential synergies.”
ESA – Source: Moon Village
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