LONDON: China and Europe are planning to build the first-ever "Moon Village" that could serve as a launching pad for deep space missions such as one to Mars, or even as a spot for space tourism and lunar mining.
Representatives of the Chinese and European space agencies have discussed collaborating on a moon-base and other possible joint endeavours.
The plan was first revealed by Tian Yulong, the secretary general of China's space agency. Pal Hvistendahl, a spokesperson for the European Space Agency (ESA), confirmed the discussions.
"Space has changed since the space race of the sixties. We recognise that to explore space for peaceful purposes, we do international cooperation," Hvistendahl was quoted as saying by the 'Independent'.
"The Chinese have a very ambitious moon programme already in place," he said.
Johann-Dietrich Worner, the director general of the 22- member ESA, has described its proposed "Moon Village" as a potential international launching pad for future missions to Mars and a chance to develop space tourism or even lunar mining.