Russia is looking to enlist the help of both NASA and the European Space Agency to create an orbital station around the moon, or a manned lunar base.
JANUARY 20, 2012
According to Russian news site RIA Novosti, while the country intends on making the moon its focal point, Russia’s plans calls for more than merely putting boots on the lunar surface. According to Roscosmos chief, Vladimir Popovkin, that leaves only two options: “setup a base on the Moon, or launch a station to orbit around it.”
“We don’t want the man to just step on the Moon,” Popovkin stated in an interview with Russian radio station Vesti FM.
He went on to add, “Today, we know enough about it, we know that there is water in its polar areas,” he said of the moon, adding “we are now discussing how to begin exploration with NASA and the European Space Agency.”
While Russia’s attempt to establish a base on the moon might seem new, it isn’t. During the late 1950’s Soviet and US. Scientists first began discussing the possibility of establishing a permanent manned outpost, but as the Cold War drew on, those plans never went any further.
Given the decades worth of both scientific and military competitiveness between the U.S. and Russia (and Soviet Union before that), not to mention the sometimes icy current relations between the superpowers, it’s encouraging to see Russia wanting to cooperate more readily with the United States on matters regarding outer space–especially since officials over at Roscosmos recently suggested that the U.S. could be to blame for the program’s recent difficulties in regards to its failed $170 million scientific probe headed towards a moon of Mars.
Given that NASA has more recently focused its attentions on Mars and left exploration and research of the moon to the growing private space exploration and development sector, it’s hard to tell whether such a grand endeavor will indeed come to fruition.