Friday, January 08, 2016

Will ESA or Won't ESA? Should we be Skeptical of ESA's ANnounced Lunar Plans by 2030

The European Space Agency on Jan. 7 issued a video describing, over eight minutes, the multiple arguments for lunar exploration and saying flatly: “Our next destination on this [space exploration] journey is the Moon.”

But for now, Europe’s lunar exploration plan remains decidedly one of “all hat, no cattle,” as ESA’s national governments remain silent in the face of the enthusiastic backing of ESA Director-General Johann-Dietrich Woerner of an international lunar exploration effort.

It’s not the first time Woerner has sought to stir interest in a lunar mission. Before arriving at ESA last July, he was executive chairman of the German Aerospace Center, DLR.

DLR in 2007 had tentatively approved what began as a German-only lunar mission focusing on robotic lunar resource exploitation. At some 500 million euros ($600 million then), it proved to large a commitment for DLR alone.

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