Lift Your Game, NASA: Russia Wants To Colonise The Moon

Since the end of the manned Apollo missions, the Moon has gotten a raw deal as far as space exploration goes. Critics claim that while putting Neil, Buzz & Co. on the little grey rock was, you know, pretty fucking great, it’s been more viable to conduct unmanned missions elsewhere in space. 
Of course, America was spurred onto the Moon landing by their competition with the Soviet Union, but nearly fifty years after losing the original Space Race, Russia have proven Roscosmos is a strong, independent space agency who don’t need no NASA. 
After announcing plans to send an unmanned probe to the Moon’s south side – that’s the dark side – the Russians have claimed they have set their sights even higher: they want to colonize the damn place. 
The proposed Luna 27 lander is the first step. James Carpenter of the European Space Agency says the other side of the Moon is “unlike anywhere we have been before,” and the lander could find the raw materials to spur long-term habitation. 

“The environment is completely different, and due to the extreme cold there you could find large amounts of water-ice and other chemistry which is on the surface, and which we could access and use as rocket fuel or in life-support systems to support future human missions we think will go to these locations.”

The ESA is expected to provide several vital components to the Russian lander, including a miniature on-board lab and laser-guided landing systems, which sounds absolutely rad, but not as rad as Roscosmos scientist Igor Mitrofanov’s statement that “The 21st Century will be the century when [the Moon] will be the permanent outpost of human civilization. Our country has to participate in this process, and we have to do it together with our international colleagues.”

For the record, the ESA reckons a base on the Moon might look something like this:

The lander is planned to launch in 2020, with a view for manned missions a decade after. Of course, if the Russian plan to colonise with their European neighbours falls apart, they can always try it again with China.

Image via Collecticon. 
Story via RT.