As NASA is preparing for the 2030 Mars mission, many countries out there are beginning to question the feasibility of the mission, the European Space Agency being the first one to voice out its apprehensions. Basically, NASA wants Mars while ESA sticks to the moon village.
In order to understand why ESA doesn’t want to back up NASA’s Mars project, let’s take a look at the international situation. Over the past decade, countries with a highly advanced space program, such as Russia and China, have voiced their discontent towards US’s plan to land on Mars.
Very soon, the ESA would join the international forum, saying that we should look towards our own backyard and put those lessons learned from the ISS into motion. According to the ESN, NASA’s may have a sound plan, but given the fact that they have yet to find a solution to expensive expandable spacecraft problem, a journey to Mars may prove to be problematic, if not impossible. Instead, the space agencies said we should be looking towards the moon.
There is yet another context we should be aware of. In 2010, during his speech on space policies, president Obama declared that another trip to the Moon is off the table, due to the fact that the US has already been there. After his speech, NASA’s administration took into account Obama’s recommendation and scrubbed off the board any missions involving Mars.
In terms of politics, in the last couple of years, space has become a very attractive playground. We all remember the tensions which arose around the space mining right. As the moon stirred quite a lot agitation, it may very well be that it will become a political tool.
Because, as we well aware of, with the elections entering the final stage, the US will not only change its presided but also the chief of NASA. As the former head of NASA followed closely Obama’s view on Moon missions, it may very well be that the newly elected chair of NASA will have a different opinion.
Meanwhile, ESN is preparing for its first international space mission. According to certain reports, there will be an international collaboration between the ESA, Russia and China. Their goal is to establish a fully operational research facility on the Moon.
It is their strong belief that the Moon has quite a lot to offer. Researcher plan on mining for ice water and other rare minerals found on the lunar surface. Moreover, Europe along with Russia and China are expecting the US to participate in this international space endeavor.
NASA declared that they will refrain from taking an active part in this space endeavor, but they will provide technical assistance if necessary.
Johann-Dietrich Wörner, the new director of the ESA, has spoken, during a recent conference, about this new concept called The Moon Village, an international colony used for research. According to his projections, in time, the space colony will become self-sufficient, being able to develop its own sources of food and energy.