The European and Russian space agencies plan for a possible permanent settlement on the moon have been revealed. The ambitious space mission, called Luna 27, is set to start in five years time and is planned to complete in 2040. Words: Aled Scudamore Sub Editor: Corey Armishaw
The initial plan for the mission is to test the moon for possible raw materials for fuel also to see if there is potential for water and oxygen. After the tests have been done they will then attempt to colonize the moon with a small group of people.
The plans are for the settlement to be built on the edge of the South Pole where it is always dark, making it one of the coldest places in the Solar System. This will mean they will have access to ice and other frozen chemistry to test and use for potential fuel.
Dr James Carpenter, EAS’s (European space Research and Technology Centre)
Lead scientist on the project has said about the resources on the moon, “We could access and use as rocket fuel or in life-support systems to support future human missions”. Sounds more like a petrol station on the moon than a mission to establish a colony.
The mission is planned to resume where the Russian space agency left off in the mid 1970’s. Professor Igor Mitrofanov of the Space Research Institute in Moscow has said, “It will be a permanent outpost for human civilisation”
A privately owned company, Lin Industrial, has displayed their interest in funding the mission. They believe they can build the lunar base and a second support facility for less than £6.5 Billion. But so far they have only contributed £115,000, they have stated it will cost £130,000 to build a prototype rocket and then another £8.8 million to test launch it.
It is hoped among scientists that the Luna 27 mission could be the first collaboration of many exploring our Solar System and possibly beyond. The only question I have is, if the relationship between Europe and Russia breaks down, who gets to keep the space station?