Roscosmos and the European Space Agency appear to be moving ahead with plans to survey and eventually set up a base on the South Pole of the moon.
Roscosmos chief Vladimir Popovkin explained the details of the lunar mission further “We don’t want the man to just step on the moon,’ he said. “We are now discussing how to begin the moon’s exploration with NASA and the European Space Agency, either to set up a base on the moon o to launch a station to orbit around it.”
Putting people back on the moon could jumpstart further space exploration in the solar system and beyond. It’s likely that the lunar base would play a crucial role in the goal of reaching Mars and is set to be operational sometime in the 2020s.
Russia plans to have completed two unmanned missions by 2020, but they have faced several setbacks in planning the mission so far. Roscosmos was woefully underfunded throughout the 1990s and early 2000s, and recently lost a probe bound for one of Mars’ moons, Phobos, after it crashed into the Pacific Ocean.
It has been 41 years since a human being last walked on the moon, and it may still be at least five more years before another person lands on the moon.