Paris, July 20 (ANI): The Director General of the European Space Agency (ESA) has said he's sure that mankind will go back to the Moon as soon as 2020 or 2025.
ESA's Director General Jean-Jacques Dordain made this statement while discussing the significance of the 40th anniversary of the Apollo 11 landing on the Moon and of continuing lunar exploration.
"Yes, I am sure mankind will go back to the Moon. The Moon is just three days away from Earth, and it used to take three days to go from Paris to Marseille a little over a hundred years ago, so I don't see why we shouldn't go back to the Moon. However, the aim would no longer be to plant a flag there," Dordain said.
"The idea would be to use the Moon as just another part of our environment, in order to make scientific progress, or to establish a warning system against asteroids or anything else threatening Earth, or as a source of resources to take back to Earth," he added.
"It seems to me that the Moon is simply a part of our environment and I am sure humans will return to the Moon; but they will go to the Moon together and not in the context of two competing countries. I am absolutely convinced that mankind will go back to the Moon," he said.
As to his thoughts about a timeline for mankind's return to the Moon, Dordain said, "In my view, this mainly depends on the current US plan. For the time being, the US plan is to have a crew on the Moon by 2020."
"I would say, though, that the date is not the most important factor. We're not talking about a race anymore, which means that we have time. If it's not in 2020, it will be in 2025 - it doesn't really matter," he said.
"In a hundred years from now, nobody will worry whether we returned to the Moon in 2020 or 2025, and that is why we at ESA are giving far more priority to science and short-term services to citizens. However, I am absolutely convinced that mankind will go back to the Moon - in 10 years' time, or maybe 20 years, but that is not the important point," he added. (ANI)