Villages on the Moon, constructed through cooperation between astronauts and robotic systems on the lunar surface, may become a reality as early as 2030, scientists say. Moon villages could serve as a potential springboard for future human missions to Mars and other destinations, a team of scientists, engineers and industry experts sa d at the European Space Agency’s ESA) symposium `Moon 2020-2030 -A New Era of Coordinated Human and Robotic Exploration’, held in the Netherlands. But scientists must first deter mine if the resources on the Moon are as significant as we think they are, said Clive Neal, from the University of Notre Dame in US. “We keep talking about lunar resources, but we still need to demonstrate they can be used, (that) they are, in fact, reserves,” he said. “So ground truth verification of deposit size, composition, form of deposit size, composition, form and homogeneity requires a coordinated prospecting programme as a first step,” Neal said. “The next step would demonstrate extraction techniques followed by refinement of the product into usable commodity. A successful programme would then clearly demonstrate that lunar resources can enable solar system exploration,” he said.
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