Russia has taken a sudden interest in the moon. Amid reports that Russia sent its suicide weapons into space, which could potentially smash into other satellites, Russia has now announced that it is planning to land its first cosmonauts on the moon by 2030.
“A manned flight to the moon and lunar landing is planned for 2029,” the head of Roscosmos Energia, Russia’s own NASA, announced on Tuesday at a space and technology conference in Moscow.
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And it seems that despite Western sanctions imposed on Russia, Europe wants to be on board, too. The European Space Agency (ESA), who marked the history last year by landing the first ever spacecraft on a comet, is on board with the Russians.
“We have an ambition to have European astronauts on the Moon,” Bérengère Houdou, the head of the moon exploration group at ESA’s European Space Research and Technology Center, told BBC News over a week ago. “There are currently discussion at international level going on for broad cooperation on how to go back to the Moon.”
Both the Russians and Europeans are reportedly eager to establish a permanent base on the moon. And it seems that they are getting close to achieving that.
In September, Roscosmos announced the plans to send Luna 25 lander to moon’s south pole in 2024. The lander is expected to investigate the lunar surface for future lunar bases, including a permanent base planned by Russia and Europe.
The plans to launch the Luna 25 mission originated in 1997, but it has constantly been delayed. But now with the help of Europe, the mission has a high chance to finally be realized. According to Tech Insider, construction of the Luna 25 has already begun.
Russia sends women and monkeys into space
The Institute of Biomedical Problems of Russia (IBPR), where Mars-500 was held a few years ago, is about to launch its new experiment to imitate a piloted flight on the moon. The flight is expected to last for 8 days and only women from 22 to 34 years old are expected to participate.
The Moon-2015 program includes a total of around 30 experiments, according to IBPR representatives. The tasks of the program include conducting a series of scientific studies as well as testing and arranging space devices, which would be sent to the moon in the nearest future.
The crew of the Moon-2015 program will include women aged from 22 to 34, all of which are employees of the Institute. However, the names of the candidates are kept in secret and will be revealed only an hour before the project’s launch. The women will not receive any financial payment, since the experiment has a volunteer nature. However, the experiment is financed by the IBPR’s budget.
In order to diversify the life of women, psychologists have come up with a series of provocative psychological tests. The reason to have a crew consisting of only women is that the Institute wants to figure out what kinds of physiological changes occur in the body of a woman and study psychological interactions in the all-women team when isolated from the external world, according to Sergei Ponomariev, former employee of the IBPR, as reported ITAR-Tass.
Moreover, Russia’s Roscosmos agency is getting ready to launch the program that would send four apes into space.
According to a Roscosmos spokeswoman, the apes will be “civilized” for two years, and then one of the apes will be trained as a potential crew chief. The program will involve rhesus monkeys, the species of monkeys that can communicate with gestures better than other apes.
Russia sends suicide devices into space
ValueWalk reported last week that Russia had sent three of its suicide weapons devices – Cosmos-2504 satellites – into space, which could smash into other military satellites and other space objects and destroy them.
Russia neither announced the launch of its satellites, nor did it properly register them with the United Nations, which standard procedure requires nations to do. But it’s not just destroying other space objects that worries other countries but also that the space aircraft could be used as potential weapons.
“You can probably equip them with lasers, maybe put some explosives on them,” Anatoly Zak, a space historian and journalist, told Quartz. “If [one] comes very close to some military satellite, it probably can do some harm.”
But there is one Russian spacecraft, which was launched in March from around 497 miles north of Moscow, that particularly left U.S. space experts concerned. Brian Weeden, a former officer in the U.S. Strategic Command’s Joint Space Operations Center, started monitoring the alarming satellites right after their launch.
Weeden was particularly alarmed that the Russians might have launched the spacecraft with a military purpose.
“At some point during that pass, the Briz-KM’s orbit was disturbed by an unknown perturbation, which could have been the result of a minor collision between the two space objects. If it was, the impact was very slight and did not result in additional debris being generated,” Weeden said.
If such a scenario, which involves a collision, was planned by Russian engineers on purpose, then it could be safe to say that Russia was conducting a military test in space. If Russia succeeds in such military tests, Russia would be able to destroy its enemy’s satellites or to block their ability to transmit communications, navigate in space and spy.
The Cosmos-2504 satellites are among the list of spacecraft that are not officially weapons but have strike capabilities if used for a military purpose.