Director-general of the ESA Johann-Dietrich Wörner says the moon village is virtually guaranteed and there are a “a list of worldwide entities” which want to get involved in a lunar-base project.
Speaking at a conference in Paris, the head of Europe’s space arm said: “For me, the Moon village is already more or less a fact.
“Okay, there is nothing on the Moon visible [yet], but there will be something visible very soon, because several of these entities are planning to go to the Moon rather soon.”
Mr Wörner added that the project will be open to everyone, while the International Space Station has just the five participants: The US, Japan, Russia, Europe and Canada.
How the moon base might look
He continued: “It's not like the International Space Station, which is more or less restricted to the club.
“The Moon village idea is an open idea, free and open access.”
Man will have a permanent base on the moon soon
Interest in returning to the moon has gone up several notches in the last year, with humans having not been there since 1972.
However, with the International Space Station project set to be ended by the mid 2020s, experts are looking at other space opportunities to replace it.
NASA's Apollo 11 mission
Thu, July 21, 2016
NASA releases stunning images from the Apollo 11 moon landing mission. Over 10,000 images have been released to Flickr capturing the magnitude and beauty of the mission.
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Astronaut Neil Armstrong taking his ‘small step for man’ from Apollo 11
The ESA hope to have the moon village in operation by 2024
Google in particular is encouraging firms to get to the moon with its Lunar Xprize.
The Lunar Xprize is a competition from the search engine giant which challenged firms to “land a privately funded rover on the moon” in a bid for a $30 million prize.
Interest in the moon has gone up several notches recently
There are 16 challengers from the likes of Japan, Chile, US and Israel among others, who hope to be the first private firm on the moon.
In order to win the competition, the companies must land a rover on the moon, have it travel at least 500 metres and stream high definition images back to Earth.