EuroMoon 2000 is a lunar initiative by ESA to mark the progression of Europe's space activities into the New Millennium. It is a first step in a novel programme that could eventually lead to the construction of an international manned outpost on the Moon. This first step will place a Lander at the most promising site for such an outpost, namely a continuously sunlit site on the rim of the lunar South Pole crater. From here, the Moon's largest crater, the Aitken Basin, can be explored, and any frozen volatiles present (water?) investigated by robotic devices supported by the Lander as their operational base.
The Lander will also place three or four participants in a 'Millennium Challenge' on the crater's rim, with a race to the Moon's South Pole, which lies 3000 m deep and in permanent darkness within the confines of the crater, as a primary goal. The winner will be entitled to 'name' the as yet unexplored and unnamed lunar South Pole and the future human outpost.
EuroMoon 2000 offers a unique opportunity for a new and innovative approach to such space endeavours by Europe, including a true partnership with industry, sharing in both the initial outlay and any potential financial returns, and inviting additional sponsorship from the European Union, the commercial sphere and the general public. The expected benefits include stimulation of both European unification and the interest of Europe's next generation of scientists and technologists in working together in space, and elsewhere, for a common goal.
The EuroMoon proposal has been formulated by drawing upon the earlier preparatory work conducted on the scientific lunar orbiter MORO and the technology demonstrator lander LEDA. A highly pragmatic approach is foreseen, with the probability of success being greatly enhanced through a staggered-risk scenario, with distinct check points for go/no-go decisions at critical points during the development programme and strong human- interaction capabilities from the ground during the mission itself.
EuroMoon 2000 is a highly visible mission designed to attract the interest of school children, more mature students and the public at large. The estimated cost of the mission is just one Euro (ECU) per European, but it nevertheless gives Europe a major chance of being a significant partner in the establishment of the first extraterrestrial human outpost, on the Moon.