Russia Prepares to Land on the Moon, Plans Lunar Base
Russia's space agency is gearing up for a moon mission by 2030. In preparation for a manned lunar mission, the Russian federal space agency Roscosmos has started moon landing trials using a '70s-era gravity machine that simulates human activities on the moon.
The unique technology called Celen allows cosmonauts to simulate the gravity on the surface of the moon. It was built in the 1970s by RSC Energia and is designed to test how cosmonauts could come out of the rover vehicle and manage to walk on the lunar surface.
Roscosmos officials also revealed that RSC Energia is designing a new spacesuit designed to make lunar exploration much easier.
"We conduct these experiments in order to see if there's anything we can recommend to the system developers in terms of streamlining work on the moon," Alexander Polishchuk, deputy head of Science and Technology Center of RSC Energia, said in a statement. "After all, the Moon is not an easy place to walk in a spacesuit. It will require special means of transportation or rovers. It takes practice to work this all out."
The trials and simulation experiments are a step closer towards the agency's goal of making a lunar base for astronauts. Roscosmos' lunar base will be used for research and mining of precious metals and will be powered by a subsurface energy station. Initially, the base will be manned by four people, which will eventually increase to 10 to 12 people, Russian daily Izvestia reports.
"Their goal is to get acquainted with the work of human conditions on the moon, and to evaluate the human potential," Alexander Kaleri, head of the Research and Development Center at RSC Energia, said in the same statement.
Roscosmos plans to send a probe to the moon to look for colony locations before launching a manned mission. A crewed spacecraft is slated to launch between 2025 and 2045, about 60 years after the Apollo mission made its historic landing on the moon.
Just recently, the Russian space agency announced its plan to collaborate with the European Space Agency (ESA) for joint lunar missions following their successful team-up on the ExoMars program, which aims to dig for evidence of Martian life underground.