Washington: Russian scientists are looking forward to have a man on the moon by 2020, as it launches a new campaign to select a new team of cosmonauts to train for the special task, according to reports.
The selection is open to any Russian citizen with technical or medical training, Vladimir Popovkin, the head of Russias Federal Space Agency Roscosmos, told Echo of Moscow radio station, according to website Pravda.ru.
“We will have the preliminary selection at first. But I can say that the group will most likely be trained to fly to the moon,” Fox News quoted Popovkin as saying.
“Nowadays, modern science is ready to use the moon. I think that man will be on the moon by 2020.”
Following the doomed launch of the Phobos Ground Martian rover in late 2011, Roscosmos officials announced the country’s space exploration program could focus only on moon missions.
By the mid-2020s, manned missions to the moon are planned.
Russias space experts have asserted that missions to Earths satellite hold great potential, with polar areas of the moon probably being used for building manned lunar bases.
On Jan.19, Popovkin revealed plans to establish lunar research bases with U.S. and European partners, according to RIA-Novosti new service.
A week after the announcement, Republican candidate Newt Gingrich said that he would build a permanent outpost on the moon by 2020 if elected president.
Lev Zelyony, director of the Institute for Space Research for the Russian Academy of Sciences, told Russias Interfax news agency that it could also be feasible to construct international observatories on those areas of the moon.
There scientists would be able to observe phenomena, which cannot be seen from the Earth because of the atmosphere and radio interception.
Zelyony thinks that such projects could be built between 2040 and 2050.