Russia will establish a moon colony by 2040, the federal space agency announced. Moscow revealed a daring five year plan developed by its space agency Roscosmos which could see the former Cold War powers coming face to face on the Moon.
This comes as the United States has said it plans to let private firms land on the barren satellite – while a NASA lead administrator said America could be returning to the lunar surface “sooner than you think.”
Dmitry Rogozin, the head of the Russian space agency, said: “This is the very important moment for Roscosmos.”
He admitted that the organisation was struggling with financial burdens but added that he was confident in the the agency’s five-year plan. Anatoly Petrukovich of the Russian Academy of Sciences said: “A trip to Mars with the current state of space travel technology is too complicated.
“The moon therefore is a much more logical goal.
“The project we are experimenting with is for the long-term habitation by humans. It is about a colony on the surface of the moon.”
According to officials, getting a human-crewed landing to set up a lunar base is the top priority.
The news comes just after NASA revealed it plans to take America back to the moon ‘to stay’ using private firms to run the business.
Rosmocos, the Russian space agency, said it will launch the strategy in three phases.
This will include launching an orbital station, then a manned mission and subsequently the construction of a permanent base.
A spokesperson said the agency had pinpointed ‘unique regions with favourable conditions for the construction of lunar bases’ using a satellite.
‘The implementation of the lunar program will be held in several stages until 2040.’
The announcement was made at a joint meeting of the Moscow-based Scientific and Technical Council of Roscosmos and the Space Council of the Russian Academy of Sciences.
Officials say the goal of lunar programmes is to ensure national interests are fulfilled in space.
‘Moon exploration issues are now heading the agenda of our Space Council. The question is really serious’, said the President of the Russian Academy of Sciences, Alexander Sergeyev.
‘We understand our limited resources. The geopolitical situation is not conducive to attracting these resources.’
‘It’s impossible to solve earthly problems, not knowing where we are moving in the future,’ said Dmitry Rogozin, Director General of the Roscosmos State Corporation.
USA Lunar colony:
Just yesterday NASA revealed it also wants to return to the moon – and set up for good.
The space agency plans to work with nine private firms, ranging from small startups to giants like Lockheed Martin, to develop robotic landers and systems to mine the natural resources on the moon.
This will help develop the technology need for eventual manned missions, and NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine pledged to have a manned lunar base within a decade.
The first new lunar missions could blast off as early next year.
‘We’re building the next chapter of American exploration, returning to the moon – to stay,’ the space agency announced.
‘I think that it is possible we can have a presence on the moon with humans within a decade,’ said NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine. ‘We’re going to utilize the resources of the moon, and take this all the way to Mars.
Bridenstine, a former U.S. Navy fighter pilot and Oklahoma congressman tapped by President Donald Trump in April as NASA chief, said the plan was part of Trump’s Space Directive-1 policy.
‘Today’s announcement marks tangible progress in America’s return to the Moon’s surface to stay,’ he said. He said future bases would be international, and that he hoped the US would lead the plans. ‘The innovation of America’s aerospace companies, wedded with our big goals in science and human exploration, are going to help us achieve amazing things on the Moon and feed forward to Mars.’
Budget and Plan:
NASA plans to create a commercial marketplace called the Commercial Lunar Payload Services Program (CLIPS) to develop technology that will eventually establish a continuous Moon presence.
A maximum of $2.6bn is earmarked for the project, and NASA will also buy space on commercial robotic landers, along with other customers, to deliver payloads to the lunar surface.
Meanwhile, the US announced its plan to return to the moon for the first time since 1972.
“We are announcing new moon partnerships with American companies,” said Nasa chief Jim Bridenstine, in a Twitter post.
“The US is returning to the surface of the moon, and we’re doing it sooner than you think.”