While some may still debate whether the world is in the midst of another Cold War, the Space Race, at least, does not look set for a redux. In fact, Russia and the U.S. have just agreed to work together on building the moon's first space station.
Russian space agency Roscosmos announced Wednesday that it was collaborating on a NASA-led project to facilitate scientific missions in the moon's orbit and to its surface. Russia and the U.S. are also developing international standards for space exploration, Agence France-Presse reports.
“The partners intend to develop international technical standards which will be used later, in particular to create a space station in lunar orbit,” Roscosmos said in a statement cited by the news agency. “Roscosmos and Nasa have already agreed on standards for a docking unit of the future station.”
The manned lunar spaceport is reportedly part of NASA's broader plan to send humans to Mars by 2030. NASA says it will serve as a “gateway to deep space and the lunar surface.” While the space agency has long made clear its aim of setting up a human colony on the Red Planet, successive U.S. governments have been varied in their appetites for missions to Mars.
According to AFP, former president George W. Bush wanted to see humans return to the moon by 2020, while Barack Obama instead focused on testing the technology necessary for a Mars trip. With new crewed visits planned to the lunar surface, Trump appears to favor shooting for the moon.