Published December 17, 2013
Recently retired astronaut Chris Hadfield has predicted that humans will establish a fully functional moon colony within the next 30 to 40 years, and could establish a similar base on Mars within the next 70 years.
Hadfield, who concluded a 35-year career as an astronaut earlier this year by handing over command of the International Space Station, made the comments in a speech at London's Science Museum, explaining that such colonization was the next logical step in human exploration.
"It's a pattern we have been following for the last 70,000 years," Hadfield said. "We gradually made our way around the world. In the last 100 years we have got to Antarctica and now there are people who live there for months at a time."
"The next logical step is to go the Moon. I am really hoping that within my lifetime we will start living on the Moon," Hadfield said later in his speech, adding "We have found out in the last couple of weeks that there is water in the soil of Mars. So I am also really hoping that in the lifetime of our children we will be able to start digging that up that on Mars as well."
Hadfield also expressed the belief that a permanent moon base would involve contributions from China and India. Both nations have seen their space program make strides this year, with China's first lunar rover making a successful soft landing over the weekend and Beijing's government expressing their intent to launch the first manned lunar missions since NASA's Apollo program in the 1960s and 1970s.
Hadfield praised China's successful lunar mission as a "great step forward ... It's extremely complex and demanding to land something on the Moon."