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Russia and Europe have started to make plans for a permanent human settlement on the moon

Russia and Europe are have recently started planning to direct an unmanned lander to the moon within the next five years to inaugurate whether to create a permanently-manned moon base there. The European Space Agency (ESA) and Russian space agency Roscosmos, want to send humans to the moon for the first time since NASA terminated its Apollo programme over 40 years ago. Ever since Neil Armstrong walked onto the moon in 1969, just 11 other humans accomplished the same feat, the last of these humans was Eugene Cernan in 1972. NASA terminated its final three moon missions because of their staggering budget and because there didn't appear much interest in our closest celestial neighbor. Though, unmanned probes and investigations have recognized that the moon does have plenty of exciting features after all - counting water.

Europe and Russia may co-operate in an effort to construct a human settlement on the moon. Image Credit: European Space Agency

The unmanned mission, Luna 27, will target the South Pole Aitken (SPA) area which is one of the coldest regions in the solar system and in nearly everlasting darkness. This might mean water has been confined in the form of ice along with other significant materials. Dr James Carpenter, ESA's chief scientist on this Luna project, says: "The south pole of the Moon is unlike anywhere we have been before. The environment is completely different, and due to the extreme cold there you could find large amounts of water-ice and other chemistry which is on the surface, and which we could access and use as rocket fuel or in life-support systems to support future human missions we think will go to these locations."

It is expected a moon base might be used as a staging post for later voyages to Mars, along with being the site of a deep space telescope able to work without earthly interference. Unlike during the Apollo era, nations will work together towards a mutual aim. As well as European countries counting Britain and Russia, China might also play a role in starting a moon base. Chinese researchers are already planning to establish mines on the moon to find valuable minerals.

Director General of the European Space Agency, Professor Johann-Dietrich Woerner, says "We should have international cooperation, without any limitations, with any countries of the world. We have enough Earthly problems between different nations – space can bridge these Earthly problems and the Moon seems to be to be a good proposal."


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