Executive Intelligence Review


China and Europe Plan for Moon Exploration Together

Dec. 1, 2018 (EIRNS)—The China National Space Administration (CNSA) and European Space Agency (ESA) are planning their lunar research programs together. On Nov. 29 they put out a joint request for information to both nations’ scientific communities for collaborative lunar research proposals, which are due Dec. 20th. The purpose of the effort is to identify “opportunities for cooperation between European and Chinese scientific teams to support missions of both agencies, enhance the overall scientific return and to prepare for an international lunar research station.”

The Request for Information states that a “step-wise approach is envisioned.” Capabilities will be developed to prospect lunar resouces, with supporting infrastructure, landing, and robotic surface exploration. “These will allow the assembly of platforms and facilities” for the demonstration of advanced technologies, such as utilizing lunar resourcess.

ESA and CNSA have held two workshops to discuss potential areas of cooperation in lunar science, after which they decided to cooperate in setting up an International Lunar Science Team, establish a CNSA/ESA Virtual Laboratory for Lunar Samples and Materials (which indicates cooperation on a lunar sample return mission, which is in China’s lunar program plan), and opportunities for science payloads from Europe to fly on Chinese lunar missions, and vice versa.

The objectives outlined in the request include science on the Moon on “platforms for scientific research in multiple disciplines,” and science from the Moon, for astronomical observations. There is also proposed “exploration enabling research,” to prepare for human missions to the Moon.

Europe is already planning cooperation in manned space flight, as ESA astronauts learn Chinese to work on the future Chinese space station.