Roscosmos aims for Mars and plans to build on moon

Jan 29, 2013
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With Mars on the mind, Russian space agency Roscosmos has announced plans for manned bases on the moon.

Roscosmos has entertained the idea of lunar bases for a while now.  According to Yuri Makarov of Roscosmos, the bases would be constructed using water and other materials readily available on the moon, Russia Beyond the Headlines reports.

According to Makarov, “the Moon is the most interesting object; we may take the next step and build a planetary station. There is everything the station needs to survive – rocket fuel and construction materials (if water is found).”  He added that the bases would benefit the further development of Mars missions, because a mission like that “presents lots of difficulties that have to be overcome, so we should test space technologies on a closer range, on the Moon.”

The Soyuz rocket is rolled out to the launch pad by train, on Sunday, October 21, 2012, at the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan. Photo courtesy NASA.

Roscosmos General Director Vladamir Popovkin announced early in 2012 that the Russian space agency was in talks with European partners on developing the lunar bases by 2030, though Makarov said that timeframe might be later.

To go one further, Roscosmos is expected sign an agreement with the European Space Agency on 15 March concerning the ExoMars Project, a goal to send unmanned probes to the red planet in 2016, according Ria Novosti.

These latest plans by Roscosmos follow a $70 billion installment to replace its Soyuz rocket by 2020, which it says would help to reach Mars when the time came.  And while Roscosmos is aiming high with these new projects, the space agency has encountered several technological setbacks in recent months, including a satellite that twice failed at orbital attempts and an unmanned rocket set for Mars crashing back down to Earth after its engines went faulty in late 2011.


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Richie Parrish

Richie is an editorial intern at Transitions Online.
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