The ESA and Nasa are teaming up to get to the moon
Two of the world’s biggest space agencies are joining forces to take astronauts to the moon by 2021.
While the two space agencies are not expecting to land on the lunar surface, the two giants of space exploration plan to get a craft in orbit of the Earth’s natural satellite.
The furthest humans have travelled from Earth in recent decades is the International Space Station, and the last time astronauts left Earth’s low orbit and reached the moon was in 1972 – the last of Nasa’s six moon landings.
In the coming missions, the ESA says that it will team up with aerospace firm Airbus to build a module that will help Nasa get men to the moon at the turn of the next decade.
Eugene Cernan (pictured) was part of Apollo 17 – the last manned mission to the moon in 1972
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Astronaut Edwin E Aldrin Jr Poses For A Photograph Beside The Deployed Flag Of The United States
ESA's Director of Human Spaceflight, Dave Parker, said: “We are excited to be a part of this historic mission and appreciate NASA's trust in us to help extend humanity's exploration farther afield into our Solar System.”
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The 2021 mission will be a follow-up to next year’s Orion spacecraft – which will test the new ship without astronauts.
Similar ships will hopefully be used to get people to Mars
The spacecraft will then be used to get people to the moon in 2021, with the view that it will also be taking astronauts to Mars in the following years.
Of the spacecraft, Nasa said: “Orion will carry astronauts into deep space and then return them home to Earth.
“Orion will be able to travel to an asteroid or even Mars.”