Europe wants to colonize the moon within the next few decades by using 3D printing to build a moon village.
Johann-Dietrich Woerner, the director general of the European Space Agency (ESA), announced the agency plans to build a permanent base on the Moon by 2030. European space bureaucrats intend to use huge 3D printers to build the base using natural resources on the moon. Construction of the manned lunar base could begin within five years, Woerner said in a YouTube video.
Woerner claims the base would encourage international cooperation and could even be used to refuel spacecraft headed to Mars. NexGen Space, a consultant company for NASA, estimated last December a lunar refueling station would “reduce the cost to NASA of sending humans to Mars by as much as $US10 billion per year.”
“The ESA space-exploration strategy sets the Moon as a priority destination for humans on the way to Mars, and the recent talk of a ‘Moon Village’ certainly has generated a lot of positive energy in Europe … [of] Europe playing a role in a global human exploration scenario,” Kathy Laurini, the manager of NASA’s office in the Netherlands, told Space.com.
Europeans aren’t the only ones planning to build a lunar base. Russia’s space agency also plans to land a person on the Moon and start construction of a permanent base by 2030, according to reports published last November by TASS, the official state news agency.
A Russian official has even been quoted saying “[w]e are coming to the moon forever.”
Russia however, won’t be using 3D printing. It plans to assemble a 20-tonne base complex in orbit around Earth, then assemble a spacecraft to move the base into lunar orbit. Russia claims construction of some components has already started. The launch of the first robotic probe which will collect scientific data and scout possible base locations is scheduled for 2024.
Studies show the United States could return to the Moon within five to seven years and build a permanent base 10 to 12 years after that. Currently, NASA has no plans to return to the Moon.
The Obama administration has already stymied two separate projects initiated during the Bush administration designed to return Americans to the Moon by leaking information to the press and threatening to veto the projects. Large portions NASA’s funding for lunar launches have already been diverted into environmental science and global warming research, the budget of which increased by 63 percent.
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