Europe is set to launch a new lunar exploration. The European Space Agency (Esa) is alleged to meet with the ministers of the member-state in Seville, Spain next week.
Based on reports, the politicians will commit to hundreds of millions of euros for the technology funding. It will in return support the US-led Artemis project to send humans to the moon. Based on sources, the funding will include money to finish two-propulsion-cum-service modules necessary to foster Americans’ Orion crew capsules through space.
The spacecraft known as Artemis 3 and 4 will participate in the Nasa missions which are scheduled to fly from 2024 onwards. This will pave to the first astronaut sorties to the lunar surface in almost 50 years.
Furthermore, ministers have given a green signal at the Seville Council for the development work on international lunar space station, known as Gateway.
In addition, Europe also wants to contribute for a habitation module (iHab) along with a second multi-purpose unit which would enable access, high-data rate communications and refueling to the Moon’s surface.
The unit known as Esprit, is equipped with big windows which will enable Gateway’s live-abroad astronauts to monitor robotic operations on the external stations, and can also look down on the Moon and then back to Earth.
Furthermore, the Esa group will also scrutinize a large autonomous freighter which can deliver supplies to astronauts who work on the lunar surface. Although the freighter won’t fly until later in the next decade, the team has already started to work on the design.
“We want to do a robotic Moon mission that is part of the human exploration,” explained Dr David Parker, to BBC. Parker is the director of the agency’s human and robotic exploration programmes.
“Basically, we’d like to be able to send a cargo vehicle to the Moon – to take the food, the rovers; whatever you need for long-term sustained exploration on the surface. And that vehicle could also do science by bringing rock and soil samples back up to the Gateway,” he adds.