The Global Space Exploration Conference is taking place this week in Washington DC. The heads of space agencies for Europe, Canada and Russia – along with senior representatives from the Indian and Japanese space agencies – are meeting to discuss the benefits of international collaboration.
Vladimir Popovkin, head of Roscosmos, yesterday stated Russia’s commitment to pursuing extensive, long-term operations on the Moon’s surface: “We’re not talking about repeating what mankind achieved 40 years ago,” he said. “We’re talking about establishing permanent bases.”
Similarly, JAXA, the Japanese Space Agency, issued a clear statement about targeting the Moon. “We are looking at the Moon as our next target for human exploration,” said Yuichi Yamaura, an associate executive director.
Interestingly, NASA administrator Charles Bolden was absent from the conference. This is because he was in Florida, watching the launch of Falcon 9 to the International Space Station.
Recent evidence of water at the Lunar poles has increased interest in the Moon. Polar colonies could also avoid the problem of long Lunar nights (about 354 hours, a little more than two weeks) and take advantage of the Sun continuously.