It’s all about the moon in 2019. China recently landed a robot on its dark side; plus, 2019 will mark the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 mission, which sent Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin to its surface. Now Europe is expressing its interest in joining in on the lunar fun.
Still in the planning stage
For the moment, this plan is only a project. But it’s still fast-approaching: the European Space Agency is looking to send out a moon exploration mission before 2025. The group Ariane has been put in charge of research and must present a detailed plan before the end of this year.
A representative from the European Space Agency has specified the mission’s objective: ‘the exploitation of regolith, a mineral that water and oxygen can be extracted from, allows us to envision an autonomous human presence on the moon as well as a means of fuel for even more distant missions.’ The European program’s wish is to install an outpost on the moon. The sought-after mineral would allow, as announced, for greater exploration in even more distant corners of space.
A race to the moon
André-Hubert Roussel, executive president of the European Space agency, says ‘I’m convinced that space exploration is essential for the future of humanity in general…Europe has to have its place.’ Besides the aforementioned Chinese mission, the United States, India, Israel, and Russia have also expressed interest in planning lunar missions. The possibility of exploiting the natural resources of Earth’s satellite is decidedly at the heart of these projects.
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