Humans haven’t set foot on the moon since 1972. That hasn’t stopped Johann-Dietrich Woerner, the new director general of the Paris-based European Space Agency, from pushing mankind toward more of a giant lunar leap than another small step. Woerner kicked off his tenure by telling BBC he not only wants to go back to the moon but hopes to build a village there—on the far side, no less.
The very idea of a moon city ignites a constellation of questions about what it would look like and how we would build it. So CityLab called Woerner to find out. With the International Space Station potentially coming offline around 2024, he says, it’s time to envision the next era of human presence beyond Earth. The moon-city project would be a prime driver of technological advancement as well as basic scientific research.