The European Space Agency (ESA) and China's space exploration arm China National Space Administration have held talks in regards to building a moon-base, a spokesperson for the ESA confirmed. CNSA led a series of talks with ESA, and secretary general for China's space agency, Tian Yulong, discussed the potential for a lunar base on Chinese state media, according to theIndependent. However, he didn't reveal further details on what the collaboration between the two agencies could entail.
China may join the ESA's proposed "Moon Village" plan, which will mine minerals and provide a launch pad for future missions to Mars.
Despite arriving to space exploration relatively late compared with the USA and Russian Federation (particularly under the Soviet Union), China has ramped up its efforts over the past few decades to the point that it is the most likely to land humans on the moon for the first time this century.
More recently, China launched its first unmanned cargo spacecraft and also successfully completed docking with an orbiting space lab. By the end of the year, it plans to launch a mission to collect moon samples, especially to gather samples from the furthest sides.
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"The future of space travel needs a new vision", said Jan Woerner.
To explore space for peaceful purposes, worldwide cooperation is essential, the spokesman added. "No, that would be misleading".
Even if the necessary water can be found in situ on Mars and the moon, that hardly means those are easy places to grow food. A "moon village" may be the key to accomplishing both of these goals with the help of the ESA. "Esa is eager to fly to Mars as well". "If the price were around 50,000 RMB ($7,261) for one trip, it would be within reach for ordinary people, and we are now trying to make that a reality", said Bao Weimin, director of the science and technology committee under the China Aerospace Science and Technology Corporation.
The advantage of choosing cis-lunar space is that it is not very congested compared with Earth orbit and designers can afford thinner walls around the space station.