Russian president Vladimir Putin said that as a part of Russia’s reinvigorated space program, the country will send people to both the moon and Mars. Russia is expected to begin their revamped journey in space next year.
According to The Independent, the Russian government will begin by sending landers to the red planet, yet the country hopes to send people there soon after that, said the Putin. Russia’s space agency will also attempt to put people at the poles of the Moon, he said. The purpose of Russia’s moon landing would be an exploration of the moon’s poles. Putin described that as a continuation of the work done during the Soviet space program.
That work reached its peak in the midst of the Cold War, as the US and Russia battled it out to get the first person into space and then onto the moon. Russia won the race to send the first person into space but has never put one of its cosmonauts on the moon.
Putin didn’t specifically say that Russia was racing Elon Musk and his Space X program to Mars or the moon, but Musk did announce that he intends to launch his rocket to the Red Planet in 2019.
Putin also said that landing on the moon could be a vital step in future space endeavors. The moon could be used as a launching point for other missions to other plants.
Putin also said Russia will beat NASA to Mars and will be the nation that discovers water on the moon. “We are planning unmanned and later manned launches, into deep space, as part of a lunar program and for Mars exploration. The closest mission is very soon, we are planning to launch a mission to Mars in 2019,” Putin said.
So far, Russia’s attempts at a Mars mission have ended much like their mission to the moon: in failure. In 2011, the ill-fated Phobos-Grunt probe was unable to be fired toward the orbit of the red planet after launch. Its mission was designed to bring back samples from the planet’s moon Phobos.
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