Jan 04, 2016 10:07 PM EST
Last month at the European Space Research and Technology Centre in Noorwijk, the Netherlands held a conference that featured 200 scientists and experts. The conference are setting up strategies to put up a "Moon Town."
The Moon 2020-230-A New Era of Coordinated Human and Robotic Exploration is an international symposium where the European Space Agency proposed a significant push in putting a livable area on the Moon, rather than on Mars. The agency wants to put up a life-sustaining "lunar village."
"Abandoned by man for 43 years, it remains the only planet attainable by human missions with current technology, but remains poorly understood," Johann-Dietrich Wörner, ESA Director General, said. According to Wörner, a human- and robot-occupied area on the Moon's surface represents an ideal middle ground that allows humanity to explore the universe and beyond. This should be a realistic short-term mission rather than a full-blown mission to Mars.
"The far side of the moon is very interesting because we could have telescopes looking deep into the Universe [without being effected by transmissions from Earth]," Wörner further explained. He also added that the Americans are looking at Mars too early, when it would be far more advantageous to test everything first on the Moon before setting a mission to Mars.
The target infrastructure to be installed on the Moon is a 3D-printed one. Wörner is talking about a large-scale, on-site 3D printers. This is planned to be life-sustaining using the very materials occurring on the Moon. ESA already had set up conduction tests to 3D print construction blocks using lunar regolith -- these are the materials and substances that are naturally occurring on the Moon's surface.
"Terrestrial 3D printing technology has produced entire structures," project chief Laurent Pambaguian said.
This 3D-printed "Moon Village" is envisioned to be a settlement that caters to different astronauts from various cooperating countries, like Russia and China, and would allow for scientific research, lunar mining and even civilian activities like space tourism.