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Returning to the Moon with gusto

12 Apr 2019, 16:05 UTC
Returning to the Moon with gusto
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The Lunar Orbital Platform-Gateway: NASA and partners are seeking to create a lunar-orbit space station (Courtesy: NASA)
Astronauts from the Apollo era needed “fast reactions like cowboys”. But the astronauts retuning to the Moon will need a much deeper understanding of the science and technology, especially the geology.
That’s the opinion of Matthias Maurer, a freshly trained astronaut with the European Space Agency, who was speaking today at the 2019 general assembly of the European Geosciences Union.
Maurer – a materials scientist who became certified for space travel space in 2018 – was the keynote speaker in a session on lunar science and upcoming lunar missions. The return of humans to the Moon is a question of when, not if, with all the major space players investigating the possibilities. Maurer says his preference is the creation of a permanent base in the same way humans have explored Antarctica.
He acknowledges, however, that there are many technical challenges to overcome. Some of these will be addressed at a new Luna facility due to open at ESA’s Astronaut Centre in Cologne, Germany. Researchers at that centre will design the technology needed for the future lunar village, tackling questions such as: What’s the ...

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