With a permanently occupied space station orbiting the earth, the next step is a permanently occupied lunar station on the moon. The European Space Agency is moving ahead with plans to set up a moon base.
The “moon village” is expected to be a collaborative effort between the ESA and other countries with space programs.
According to Johann-Dietrich Woerner, director general of the European Space Agency, the village would be for scientific experiments, mining of potential resources and tourism.
"I think we should go first to the moon and then further on," Woerner said on April 13, during a session at the 32nd Space Symposium called "New Generation Space Leaders Panel: The Future of Human Spaceflight. "I would not call Mars the ultimate goal. I am quite sure humans will go further."
Calling the moon base a village is not by accident.
"A village is something where different people are gathering with different capabilities, different opportunities, and then they build a community," Woerner said. "It's not one village with some houses, a church."
He went on to call the moon village a “stepping-stone” and “test bed” for a potential trip to Mars.
The U.S. space agency, NASA, has set a goal of sending humans to Mars in the 2030s.
Here's a video about the moon village: