The US space agency has suggested that it would be possible to build a ‘cheap’ moon base by 2022.
Hot on the heels of ESA director general Johann-Dietrich Worner’s vision of a ‘moon village’ by 2030, scientists at NASA have been calculating how much it would actually cost to build a moon base within the next six years and the result is a lot less than you might expect.
Back in the 1960s the US spent the equivalent of $170 billion in today’s money on the historic Apollo program – a price that would seem to be but a pittance compared to that of building a moon base – yet researchers investigating the feasibility of such a project believe that setting up a lunar outpost could cost as little as $10 billion – a fraction of the cost of putting the first humans on the moon.
“For a variety of very good reasons, it is time to go back to the moon, this time to stay, and funding is no longer the main hurdle,” said NASA astrobiologist Chris McKay.
“When the cost of a short stay on the Moon drops into the tens of millions of dollars per person, it starts to tap into the same market that has given us private spaceflight participants to the International Space Station.”
“The presence of a government base is also the presence of a customer on the Moon – a factor that can stimulate the development of services, supplies, and technology to the benefit of all.”
ESA reveals plans to build ‘moon village’
The futuristic lunar settlement would not only attract scientists and explorers but tourists as well.
Presented by ESA director general Johann-Dietrich Worner, the ambitious moon base would be constructed by robots from the natural resources available on the moon’s surface.
Located at one of the moon’s polar regions, the settlement would take advantage of international cooperation by combining the technologies and skills of several different space agencies.
Providing opportunities for everything from space tourism to lunar mining, the base would also act as a stepping stone for even more ambitious space missions and construction projects in the future.
A new ESA video detailing Worner’s plans for the lunar village can be viewed below.