Russia and America Are Planning a Joint Space Station in the Moon's Orbit

Wednesday, 27 September 2017 - 5:15PM
Space
Moon
NASA
Wednesday, 27 September 2017 - 5:15PM
Russia and America Are Planning a Joint Space Station in the Moon's Orbit
NASA
If there's one area of global politics that shows promise for one day uniting everyone into a single, Star Trek-style Federation, it's space travel.

Once bitter rivals racing to plant a flag on the moon first, the United States and Russia are now willing to cooperate if it'll get them back to the lunar satellite in a more permanent capacity, albeit in the moon's orbit rather than upon its dusty, cratered (and incredibly dangerous) surface. The two countries have been going steady on space flight for a long time, but now, as things get more serious, the two national space programs are looking to get a place together.

That place is on the moon, eventually. As part of the 68th International Astronautical Congress, which has also seen Australia announce plans to start their own space agency, NASA and Roscosmos (Russia's own space agency) issued a joint statement expressing their shared desire to work together to get people living on the moon in a permanent lunar base.

Until a lunar surface base can be designed, the current plan is to create a "deep space gateway" in the moon's orbit, which sounds like something from Stargate, but which will essentially provide a base from which further exploration of the solar system will occur. According to a press release from NASA:

Opening quote
"The space station partners are working to identify common exploration objectives and possible missions for the 2020s, including the gateway concept. A key element of their study is to ensure that future deep space exploration missions take full advantage of technology development and demonstration enabled by the International Space Station, as well as lessons learned from its assembly and operations."
Closing quote


With NASA and Roscosmos teaming up on this endeavor, it makes sense for Australia and other countries to want to get in on space travel - we're speeding towards a future in which humanity populates areas of the solar system beyond our own little rock, and it's looking increasingly like various space agencies and corporations are about to make a lot of progress in a short period of time.

There's already a plan to bring cell phone communication to the moon, in anticipation of a permanent lunar base that will be set up for commercial purposes. This is to say nothing of what Elon Musk is up to with SpaceX, and the increasing interest in a martian colony that will no doubt rely on NASA and Roscosmos' deep space gateway as a convenient point of contact.

In essence, it's happening. Soon, space travel will be widespread and far-reaching. We're not a million miles away from Star Trek, and that's good news for anyone who ever dreamed of romancing aliens. That's what the United Federation of Planets was set up for, right?
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