The Italian Space Agency, in partnership with French startup Thales Alenia Space, is developing a multi-purpose Moon habitat that could serve as the first permanent human base on the Moon.
This initiative is part of NASA’s Artemis lunar program, with astronauts set to land on the Moon by the end of 2025, and construction of a permanent base expected to commence in the 2030s.
Thales Alenia Space recently announced signing a contract with the Italian Space Agency to construct the “first permanent lunar base.”
The moon habitat project entails significant challenges. It must not only provide a sealed environment and life support systems for astronauts but also shield them from harmful radiation and micrometeoroid showers.
While the company has not unveiled the final design, renderings suggest the habitat will have a cylindrical shape and draw power from large solar panels. Telescopic supports are incorporated to prevent tipping. The project has already undergone NASA’s Element Initiation Review, indicating alignment with the space agency’s requirements. In 2020, the Italian Space Agency and NASA expressed mutual interest in continued collaboration on lunar exploration, emphasizing the return of humans to the Moon under the Artemis program.
Before the multi-purpose moon habitat officially becomes part of the Artemis program, it must undergo another NASA review, the Mission Concept Review, scheduled for early 2024. Following this, the project will progress to the next stages involving the design of critical technologies and the development of the module.