Lonely Planet Writer

Holidays on dark side of the moon now closer to reality according to the European Space Agency

If your idea of a real adventure holiday is mixing space travel with exotic destinations, then your holiday of the future could be on the moon.

Get directions to outer space. Image by Harry Thomas Photography / CC BY 2.0
Almost 50 years after setting foot on the moon, the next giant step for mankind is to build a settlement there for science, business and tourists Image by Harry Thomas Photography / CC BY 2.0

And experts now believe it will be achievable within the next two decades.  Johann-Dietrich Woerner, the head of the European Space Agency (ESA), shared his ideas for an international ‘Moon Village’ which could even come on stream as soon as 2030. Almost half a century after Neil Armstrong became the first man to set foot on the moon, Mr Woerner says the next giant step for mankind is to build a permanent base there for use similar to the International Space Station.

One of the areas being considered is the dark side of the moon because of the advantages it offer would-be residents and workers
One of the areas being considered is the dark side of the moon because of the advantages it offer would-be residents and workers Image by Kathy / CC BY 2.0

The designer village would be built from the combined knowledge of space-faring nations, including the US, and Russia. The MailOnline reports that the settlement would use natural resources from the moon’s surface. This would be the centre for future scientific journeys as well as for business and space tourism.

The settlement site could be either at the poles or on the far side of the moon where there is constant daylight, according to lunar experts. Although the South Pole is in continuous darkness, people in a settlement there would be able to access water to produce both oxygen and hydrogen. Mr Woerner also explained that in the shadow of the moon, future settlers could gain protection from solar and cosmic radiation.

The location would mean that a radio telescope could be built with natural resources, instead of having to take up materials from Earth. In time, experts believe it could be used as a holiday destination for tourists. That would require collaboration among countries to contribute either robotic or human expertise.

To start the settlement, builders would inflate a dome and then rovers could construct the building which would protect astronauts. Mr Woerner said they planned to initially introduce smaller landing missions. He said that while the US in particular had set their sights on going to Mars, he was adamant that a moon village was a closer reality.