Thursday, May 8, 2014

Russia to colonize the Moon by 2030

MOSCOW, May 8 (RIA Novosti) – Russia has drafted a program for colonization of the moon, and plans to send the first expeditions to build a permanent lunar base in 2030, the Russian Izvestia daily said Thursday, citing an official document.
"The moon is a space object for the future exploration by terrestrial civilization, and a geopolitical competition for the Moon's natural resources may begin in the 21st century," said a report on a potential lunar program prepared by the Russian Academy of Sciences, the Roscosmos space agency and Moscow State University.
The program aims to build an inhabited moon base and testing ground by the middle of the century, which would allow mineral extraction on Earth's only natural satellite.
The project calls on developing a range of long-distance space technology to ensure the country can explore the moon independently from foreign partners. Earlier proposals for lunar exploration focused on strong international cooperation, as it was believed no single country could afford interplanetary projects on its own.
Russia will plan separate three- or four-year-long lunar projects for the next 16 years, according to the plan. The first four will take place between 2016 and 2025 and will focus on defining the physical and chemical composition of the moons south pole, where the future base will be sited. Space roundtrips are scheduled for 2028-30, and manned lunar exploration for 2030-40.
The first stage will cost the government 28.5 billion roubles ($800 million), Izvestia said.
Previous lunar expeditions, which started with the USSR's Luna program in 1959 and the US landing the first man on the Moon 10 years later, discovered aluminum, iron, titanium, rare earths and other minerals."
MOSCOW, May 08. /ITAR-TASS/. Russia will start colonizing the Moon in 2030, Izvestia daily reported on Thursday. The daily has received a draft concept of Russian lunar program developed by enterprises of the Federal Space Agency (Roscosmos), a Russian Academy of Sciences institute and Moscow State University.
Notably, the draft concept envisages “creation of a lunar testing ground and a base for extraction of natural resources,” the daily reported.
Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Rogozin said in an article published in Rossiiskaya Gazeta daily on April 11 that Russia’s strategic goals in space exploration were linked to a broader presence on low Earth orbits, colonization of the Moon and launching exploration of Mars and other objects of the Solar System.
“Authors of the project do not rule out attracting private investors to lunar projects", and “first expeditions with cosmonauts’ landing to create a permanent lunar base are planned in 2030,” the daily reported.
It is needed to explore the Moon dynamically, the project authors recommended, because “leading space powers will explore and assign for themselves lunar territories suitable to provide future opportunities of practical use in the next 20-30 years.”
The Moon is a first step on the way to the deep space,” chief scientific fellow of the Institute of Space Policy Ivan Moiseyev said. “Therefore, it is reasonable to use the Moon as a promising spaceport,” he added. “As for extraction of mineral resources on the Moon, it is senseless to deliver them to the Earth, because even if diamonds are found there, it will be unprofitable to bring them here all the same,” Moiseyev believes. “But in any case it is possible to start with oxygen generation, as it exists on the Moon in many chemical compounds,” the scientist noted.
Such large-scale projects as colonization of the Moon or Mars would hardly be funded from the state budget, corresponding member of the Russian Academy of Cosmonautics Andrei Ionin said.
“Planet exploration by people will be a prerogative of private companies,” Ionin said. “There are already many such projects now that envisage Mars colonization, production of mineral resources on asteroids and similar initiatives. It is difficult to imagine that some government will be prepared to spend trillions for creation of lunar bases, because they have a good deal of other, more vital tasks, including medicine, education, army,” he added.
Roscosmos explained that initiatives in the federal space program would pass a comprehensive expertise at the level of experts and scientists of several industries, and after that the program would be submitted to the government, the daily reported.

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