Stimulated by data from the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter and other robotic Moon missions, interest is rising globally in expanded lunar science, resource exploration and eventually permanent human settlement. Also, the potential for commercial lunar enterprises is being seriously examined.
These trends are illustrated by two recent lunar conferences. In November 2017, hosted by the International Space University in Strasbourg, a workshop went on for the founding of a Moon Village Association, intended to be a worldwide partnership in support of the Village initiative. ESA and collaborating agencies have been proceeding seriously toward establishing a permanent human settlement near the south pole. ESTEC has a variety of technology developments and operations studies underway. The International Space University has now joined the effort, and hosted the founding meeting. The goal of this work is to establish a permanent human settlement near the South Pole of the Moon, taking advantage of continuous sunlight and nearby deposits of ice and other useful volatiles.
In January 2018, the Lunar Science for Landed Missions workshop took place over three days at the NASA Ames Research Center in Mountain View, California. It included many scientific papers explaining and advocating landed, roving and sample-return missions, plus surface missions with resource prospecting and commercial goals.
Both meetings are intended to issue reports for international reading.