So, the European Space Agency, or ESA, along with NASA and a bunch of other international space agencies have been talking about colonising the moon and other planets in our solar system for decades. But it’s not such a far-fetched fantasy any more. The ESA is planning to establish a permanent human outpost on the moon, dubbed the “moon village”. While it’s the ESA who appear to be charging forward, it’s actually a partnership between the ESA and other spacefaring countries.
The ESA state that they plan for the moon village to be a hub of science, business, mining, and tourism. Is anyone disturbingly reminded of Hadley’s Hope on planet LV426?!? While, admittedly, it’s unlikely that there’ll be a crashed organic alien ship full of face hugger eggs that respond to the presence of a living organism on the moon, it’s still reminiscent of both Alien and Aliens. And, given that this colony is being touted as the first step toward colonizing Mars and beyond, who knows what the future will hold?
NASA says that they plan to mount successful manned missions to Mars as soon as the late 2030s, working closely with other international teams. Johann-Dietrich Worner, Director General of the ESA, says that the moon village is a “stepping stone, a test bed to go further, for instance, to Mars and beyond.” The ambitious Director General went on to say “I would not call Mars the ultimate goal. I am quite sure humans will go further.”
But for now, the moon is the primary goal. According to the ESA, their moon village would replace the International Space Station. And, the ESA tells us that they wouldn’t even need to haul a lot of materials and equipment to the moon. Instead, they plan to construct as much as they can on the moon, using 3D printing, robots, and rovers. And based on detailed scientific data, they say they can also use the moon’s natural resources for construction materials.
When it was put to the ESA that temperature extremes of 253 degrees Fahrenheit to -243 degrees Fahrenheit and exposure to cosmic radiation made colonizing the moon potentially very dangerous for the space pioneers, these pitfalls were pretty much dismissed. Apparently, it’s just like real estate here on Earth…. Location, location, location. As long as the village sits in the shadow of the moon, there’ll be no concerns about radiation, and if the colony was based near the south pole, there’d be permanent darkness and fresh water, so high temperatures wouldn’t be an issue.
Once the colony plans are finalized, the ESA states that it will be an international affair, with astronauts from all countries welcome, being a true demonstration of international cooperation. And, as the Outer Space Treaty of 1967 prohibits any one nation from claiming rights of ownership over the moon, it really does have the potential as an multi-national space colony.
So, for all you budding astronauts, if you do plan to travel beyond Mars, and you happen to land on a planet where you hear a distress beacon… run away. Get back in your spacecraft and fly away. If you ignore this advice and you go to explore the beacon and you come across a freaky looking alien spacecraft… do not go inside. And, if you do find yourself inside, whatever you do, don’t go down into the hold full of face huggers! Run. Run away! And, if you do find yourself with a face hugger wrapping those horrible bony legs around your face, just before you pass out – remember that it’s entirely your own fault. I did try to warn you, after all!