On Wednesday, representatives from both China and the European Space Agency (ESA) confirmed that the two entities are discussing a potential collaboration to create a moon base capable of launching future space endeavors.
ESA spokesman Pal Hvistendahl confirmed that the talks were happening.
“The Chinese have a very ambitious moon program already in place,” Hvistendahl said, as quoted by the Associated Press. “Space has changed since the space race of the ’60s. We recognize that to explore space for peaceful purposes, we do international cooperation.”
Tian Yulong, the secretary general for China’s space agency, first spoke about the possible endeavor in Chinese state media, the AP reported.
Johann-Dietrich Woerner, the director general of the ESA, described the “moon village” as an international base capable of launching missions to Mars and elsewhere.
Though China was late to space travel compared to the United States or Soviet Union, it now hopes to be the first to create the first-of-a-kind base on the moon. China’s first manned spaceflight was in 2003.
According to the AP, the China National Space Administration launched an unmanned spacecraft last week to dock on its unoccupied space station. China is hoping to travel to the far side of the moon next year and collect material samples.
This year, China is conducting a mission called Chang’e 5 to bring back samples from the light side of the moon. The ESA is looking to use the information gathered by China’s mission and have a European travel on one of their spacecraft.