Russia plans to set a permanent lunar outpost by 2030. Russia is not the only one with such plans and the question is who will achieve this first.
The Russian lunar colony has begun taking shapes as Roscosmos, the countries Space Agency has announced official plans to permanently station twelve cosmonauts on the moon.
According to Roscosmos, the lunar outpost will be primarily used for research and the mining of precious minerals. However, there are many who believe that their plans aren’t only scientific and that the Russian lunar outpost might have a military purpose as well.
‘At the initial stage, the moon base will be manned by no more than 2-4 people, with their number later rising to 10-12 people,’ Olga Zharova from the Central Research Institute of Machine-Building told Izvestia.
According to reports, the Russian Lunar outpost will be powered by a subsurface energy station which will be placed in the vicinity of one of the moon’s poles.
The station will also include a fallout shelter installed underground which will help protect the crew from both radiation and ‘nuclear attacks’.
In previous statements, Russia space agency has said that it is hoping to successfully launch a lunar probe by 2024 in order to scout possible locations for the lunar outpost before landing cosmonauts on the moon by 2030.
According to reports from Russian News Agency Tass, scientists are already working on building the Luna 256 lander what will pave the way for future human exploration.
But in order to send their cosmonauts to the moon, Roscosmos is developing its Angara-A5V heavy –lift carrier rocket that will send parts for the human colony to the moon.
Roscosmos plans to complete the moon mission with six separate launches of the upcoming Angara rocket.
According to reports, each launch will send a new module to the surface of the moon, and the base will be created piece by piece, in a similar way to how The International Space Station was assembled.
The construction fo the moon base is expected to take around ten years to complete.
The First manned flight to the moon could be done a year earlier according to the head of Russia’s state-controlled Rocket and Space Corporation Energia.
In other reports, Russian company Energia revealed last month draft plans for an 11.4-tonne reusable spacecraft that will transport cargo and cosmonauts onto the lunar surface in a period of five days.
Currently, Russia’s Soyuz spacecraft, which are built by RSC Energia, are the only vehicles capable of sending humans into space.
‘The high-priority line of activities for Russian manned programs in the next 10 to 20 years is lunar exploration. Russia develops a new-generation advanced transportation spacecraft, in the nearest future development of other elements of the lunar program will also begin,’ said Mr. Solntsev in a statement posted on the RSC Energia website.
Surely Russia’s new lunar plans will trigger a new race to exploit the sheer number of precious minerals and other resources on the lunar surface.
Roscosmos and the European Space agency are said to be working together in order to send a lander to the moon’s south pole in the search for water.
Speaking to the BBC, Professor Igor Mitrofanov, one of the lead scientists on the project at the Space Research Institute in Moscow said: ‘We have to go to the Moon. The 21st Century will be the century when it will be the permanent outpost of human civilization, and our country has to participate in this process.’