Hello, friends! Welcome to Our Place in Space: A to Z! For this year’s A to Z Challenge, I’ll be taking you on a partly imaginative and highly optimistic tour of humanity’s future in outer space. If you don’t know what the A to Z Challenge is, click here to learn more. In today’s post, M is for…
THE MOON VILLAGE
The last time humans went to the Moon, it was motivated in large part by the Cold War. Yes, there were scientific and humanistic reasons to go to the Moon as well, but the Cold War was a big part of it. There’s no denying that. Let’s hope that next time will be different. Let’s hope that next time, human beings will set foot on the Moon as a result of international cooperation, rather than as a result of quasi-militaristic competition.
A few years ago, the European Space Agency proposed building a “village” on the Moon. This International Moon Village would serve as the logical successor to the International Space Station. Anyone and everyone who wanted to participate would be welcome to participate in the Moon Village program. As the E.S.A.’s website explains it:
By “Moon Village” we do not mean a development planned around houses, some shops and a community centre. Rather, the term “village” in this context refers [to] this: a community created when groups join forces without first sorting out every detail, instead simply coming together with a view to sharing interests and capabilities.
It’s hard to say at this point what the Moon Village would look like. A lot depends on who decides to participate. A lot also depends on how the various participants want to use the Moon Village once it is built. The proposal is very open ended about this stuff. Government run space agencies could join the program. So could private companies. The Moon Village could be used for purely scientific and technological research. At the same time, it could also be used for economic interests, such as mining the Moon for resources. Even space tourism would be welcome.
When the Moon Village was first proposed a few years ago, my understanding was that the Russian space agency was going to be a key player in this project. That’s… ummm… I’m guessing that’s no longer the case. I’m also a little unclear about whether or not the United States is involved. It sometimes sounds like NASA’s Artemis Program and E.S.A.’s Moon Village Project are totally working together; other times, it sounds like Artemis and the Moon Village are two completely separate and unrelated projects.
Despite all that, and despite everything else happening in the world today, I get the sense that E.S.A. is still moving forward with their Moon Village plans. This is a project that really could happen, and I really hope that it does happen. Anyone who wants to participate in the Moon Village is welcome to participate in the Moon Village. No one will be excluded. No one will be left out. Those are the kind of values humanity needs right now, and in the future, those are the kind of values that will help us secure our rightful place in space.
Want to Learn More?
Check out this brief statement from Jan Woerner, the Director General of E.S.A., describing what the Moon Village would be like and how it might be used.