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Space travel: when the first European should set foot on the moon


Only Americans have been to the surface of the moon so far. That should change in just a few years - if the European Space Agency has its way.

Enlarge image

"The moon is like an eighth continent," says Esa expert David Parker

Photo by Arizona State University / GSFC / NASA

So far only Americans have been to the moon.

NASA flew twelve astronauts to the earth's satellite between 1969 and 1972.

The first European could set foot on the moon this decade.

This goal was confirmed by the head of the European Space Agency Esa, Josef Aschbacher.

The plan is "to see an astronaut or an astronaut on the lunar surface before the end of the decade."

The astronaut will leave footprints on European shoes and that is of course symbolic.

"I am confident that we will achieve that," said Aschbacher.

The moon will open up as a new economic area and a new continent.

However, such a moon mission has not yet been regulated.

Aschbacher spoke of an important point of negotiation with the US space agency Nasa.

NASA is currently planning to send astronauts to the moon again for the first time in almost 50 years by 2025.

Esa also takes part in this Artemis mission.

Alexander Gerst: "Three Europeans on the Moon"

In the next phase, the cooperation of Europe through the European Space Agency is so essential that NASA would not be able to fly to the moon without Esa.

Of course, other companies are also involved, but it is nice to see that NASA is relying on Europe as a reliable partner.

"And that is certainly our common way to the moon," said the Esa boss.

Nasa and Esa have been planning to colonize the moon for years.

Esa is to participate in the construction of a space station that will orbit the moon and enable moon landings.

This "Lunar Orbital Platform Gateway" will later also serve as a starting point for flights to Mars.

The platform will also control robots that collect data about the lunar surface.

The German astronaut Alexander Gerst assumes that at least three Europeans will be able to fly to the moon by the end of the decade.

"We deliver the service module for the" Orion "lunar module.

Without this part, none of the moon missions could start, ”Gerst told SPIEGEL.

Artemis is therefore not a purely American program, but an American-European one.

Last year, Esa had brought the British Tim Peake, who had been on the International Space Station (ISS) in action for six months, into play for the moon mission.

"The moon is like an eighth continent," said David Parker, Esa's technical director at the time.

The Trabant is like a huge museum about the history of our solar system.

The researchers also want to look for water.

Because this would make the construction of lunar colonies and thus a longer stay of people realistic.

Some data from robotic probes suggests that there may be frozen water at the south pole of the moon.

Esa researcher Parker reckoned that the mission to explore the moon could take anywhere from 15 to 20 years.

fww / dpa

Source: spiegel

All tech articles on 2021-11-26

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