The European Space Agency (ESA) has commissioned ArianeGroup to investigate the possibility of landing on the moon by 2025, which would be the first for the continent.
"Restoration of the moon is possible," André-Hüber Roussel, executive president of the group, said on Monday that he was convinced that the conquest of space was essential to the future of mankind as a whole.
"Europe must be put in place," he continued, until in 2019 the fifteenth anniversary of the first steps of American Neil Armstrong on the moon was celebrated. "ESA strives to establish itself there and why not create a front for future research."
In this connection, ArianeGroup signed a contract with the European Agency. The aim of the mission will be "the exploitation of regolith, a mineral from which it is possible to extract water and oxygen, which allows the creation of an autonomous human presence on the Moon and the production of the fuel needed for further missions to study". says a group statement. ,
Such a mission is something unprecedented for Europe, although it is not yet about sending people to the moon.
So far only three countries have landed on the lunar surface, 384,000 km from Earth: Russia, the United States and China, recently, which made the landing of an artifact on the hidden side of the satellite. This world first confirmed the country as a cosmic force.
The United States and Russia, but also India or Israel, are also in the race, including international cooperation in some projects.
The study commissioned by ArianeGroup, to be presented at the end of the year, is part of ESA's global plan to turn Europe into an important partner in the survey [espacial] over the next decade, "said David Parker, director of the European Agency for Research and Robotics.
"The use of space resources may be the key to a permanent exploration of the moon," he added.
The resources of the moon go from basalt to helium 3, a scarce isotope on Earth, but commonly found in the star, which in theory can be used to generate energy for the Earth.
But the main goal of the researchers is to exploit the water contained in the ice of the moon poles, split it into hydrogen and oxygen, two gas which, mixed, can power the rocket engine.