The EU will be building the crew capsule, using technology it developed for the automatic cargo system used to resupply the International Space Station. The capsule will use rockets land and take off from the lunar surface and to touchdown back on this planet so it can be reused.
The Russians are enhancing their existing booster technology into a larger rocket capable of carrying six people into orbit or four to the moon.
"If Esa and the Russian Space Agency reach agreement, Europe will supply the service module of that co-operative spacecraft," Russian aerospace writer Anatoly Zaktold BBC News.
Nasa has already announced that it intends to make a to the lunar surface by 2020 and have a there by 2024. However it will have to develop a completely of rocket to do so and engineers have already expressed doubt at the timescale.
This new craft, based on established technology, could be there a lot faster but no plans have been announced as yet.
EU and Russia unveil new spacecraft
By Iain Thomson on Jul 25, 2008 2:36PM