China in talks with European Space Agency about moon outpost

Wörner explained his concept of a moon village not as a place to raise a family but more of a human outpost where people can live and work together.

They also are hoping to have a European flying on the Chinese space station in the future, Mr Hvistendahl said.

"Right now we have the Space Station as a common worldwide project, but it won't last forever", Johann-Dietrich Wörner, director general of the 22-member European Space Agency (ESA) said in a previous interview.

Meanwhile, NASA is also going ahead with its plans to construct a space station at the lunar orbit and has roped in global partners.

Meanwhile, ESA director general Johann-Dietrich Woerner mentioned the proposed "Moon Village" and said it would be an worldwide launching pad for future missions to Mars and serve as a tool to develop space tourism and lunar mining.

"Space has changed since the space race of the '60s", he recently told Associated Press.

China has publicly said it plans to reach the dark side of the Moon by 2018 and Mars by 2020. "We recognize that to explore space for peaceful purposes, we do global cooperation".

At this point, the European Space Agency's collaboration with China is limited to participating in the analysis of samples brought back by the Chinese mission.

This month, an unmanned spacecraft on a mission to dock with now unoccupied space station was launched by China. ESA will use huge 3D printers to build the base with the moon's natural resources.

Jiao Weixin, an astronomy professor at Peking University, told the Communist Party mouthpiece Global Times that China's participation in the construction of the worldwide "moon village" shows the country's open-mindedness.

China is in talks with Europe about launching a lunar settlement that could be used as a launch pad for missions to Mars and as a pit stop for further exploration of deep space.

Jiao Weixin believes the "moon village" would eventually transform into an entire "city".

President of China, Xi Jinping said that the Tiangong 2 mission would "enable China to take larger and further steps in space exploration, and make new contributions to building up China as a space power". China sees the space industry as a symbol of national prestige.

  • Essie Rivera