European Space Agency says the “Moon village” – which would be built with 3D printers – could help humanity explore the galaxy.
Under the plans, robots would land first and ready the surface for humans, who could then use the settlement for experiments and deep space missions.
One of the target destinations is Mars, where NASA recently claimed to have found water, sending speculation about the possibility of alien life into overdrive.
The ESA affirmed its commitment to a Moon base at a two-day conference entitled Moon 2020-2030 – A New Era of Coordinated Human and Robotic Exploration.
More than 200 scientists and experts from 28 nations came out for the event last month at the European Space Research and Technology Centre in Noorwijk, the Netherlands.
Kathy Laurini of NASA said the conference meant the Moon would be the first port of call for astronauts making their way to Mars.