Officials from Russia’s Space Agency, Roscosmos, are reportedly in talks with Europe’s ESA and NASA over possibly establishing a collective an orbital station around the moon, or a manned lunar research base. 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.
“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,” he added.
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 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 difficult to predict if such a huge collabotaive project endeavor become a reality.
Russian researchers have planned on starting a 12-year-long moon exploration programme (2025-2036), which will have several stages with first being a placement of an orbital station on a near-moon orbit, and the last – construction of a permanent base on the surface of the Earth’s natural satellite.
Lunar orbital station can be built within two years of 2025 and 2026. The facility can shelter a crew of four cosmonauts. Later on a first-stage base will be built at the Moon’s surface, which is aimed at hosting two-week-long manned missions to the satellite.
A second-stage lunar base is scheduled to appear in 2035-2036 – this facility will help start using lunar resources and prepare for industrial use of natural treasures of Earth’s natural satellite.
Image below is Alan Chinchar's 1991 rendition of the Space Station Freedom in orbit, a step for Moon and Mars Exploration, which it can be used as a basis for an orbital assembly and experiment complex,along with commercial facilities for prolonging lifetime of satellites on their orbits, as well as assembly of spaceships, heading for the Moon and Mars.
Image at top of page is Moon Base, painting by Phil Smith.