In 2016, the head of ESA drew up plans to build a town on the moon, designed by the London firm Foster + Partners.
"The future of space travel needs a new vision," said Jan Woerner.
The concept is a basis for lunar exploration by humans and robots, which would act as a stop for spacecraft, and would become a "town" with mining and even tourism.
A multi-dome lunar base is being built, based on the concept of 3D printing. Once assembled, the inflated domes are covered with a layer of lunar regolith printed in 3D by robots to help protect the occupants against space radiation and micrometeoroids.
"Right now we have the Space Station as a common international project, but it will not last forever," Woerner said.
& # 39; If I say Moon Village, it does not mean individual houses, a church, a town hall, etc. No, that would be deceptive.
& # 39; My idea only deals with the core of the concept of people: people who work and live together in the same place.
& # 39; And this place would be on the moon.
& # 39; At Moon Village we would like to combine the capabilities of the different nations of space, with the help of robots and astronauts.
The structures for a lunar base could be built by robots sent in front of human astronauts. Experts say that 3D printing technology can now build a complete building in about a week
"Participants can work in different fields, maybe they will conduct pure science and maybe there will even be commercial companies such as mining or tourism."
Woerner said the village could even help the man get to Mars.
& # 39; The Moon Village would also act like a & # 39; pit stop & # 39; for the exploration of the universe & # 39; said.
That one is also anxious to fly to Mars.
For ESA's 3D printed lunar base concept, Foster + Partners devised a "catenary" dome design with weight, with a structured cell wall to protect against micrometeoroids and space radiation, incorporating a pressurized inflatable to shelter the astronauts
& # 39; For more than a decade, we have had a very successful spacecraft orbiting there. And now, with ExoMars, two unmanned missions point to the Martian orbit and surface.
& # 39; Yes, Americans want to send astronauts to Mars one day, but today's technology is not ready for this trip yet.
For example, we must develop countermeasures against cosmic radiation that endangers the health of humans in long space travel. And we have to learn to endure long periods of time in space, not just in low orbit like on the Space Station.
"This is where our Moon comes into play: it is the perfect step for Mars."
The space agency has been promoting the permanent lunar colony as a replacement for the orbiting International Space Station, which is expected to be closed in 2024