MOSCOW, April 12 (Itar-Tass) - The Moon presents absolutely new possibilities for research now when science knows much more about it, the head of the Russian Federal Space Agency (Roskosmos), Vladimir Popovkin said at a “business breakfast” at the Rossiyskaya Gazeta daily on Friday, April 12, when Cosmonautics Day is marked in Russia.
According to Popovkin, “nobody is going to repeat the flight of US Apollo 11 and Russian Luna-16 and Luna-17”. “Those flights were not scientific, but political - who will be the first to step onto the Moon, who will be the first to bring a stone from the Moon. And programs were designed proceeding from that,” he said.
“Now, science knows much more about the Moon. We used to think there is no water there. It turned out that there is water in polar areas, and quite a lot - in form of ice. And water means life, energy store,” the Roskosmos head said.
He also said that at the end of 2015 or early in 2016 Russia is going to launch space vehicle Luna-Glob and train the landing in the polar area of the Moon. This will be followed by a major scientific program Luna-Resurs consisting of several stages, including research from the Moon’s orbit, as well as a major scientific complex with the task to land it on the Moon it, he said. “There will be also Moon-research vehicles. Work is underway to design equipment for sample retrieving, and not just from the surface but from a depth of two meters,” he added. “Besides, it must be designed ‘temperature resistant’ so that water elements of steam and ice don’t evaporate before we retrieve samples,” he said. “And finally all that has been retrieved must be brought back to Earth. This is an immediate task,” he added.
“A major problem is that it may happen so that the first who makes himself at home on the Moon will be the one to privatize it,” he added. “We are equally interested with Americans,” Popovkin admitted. “As a first step we would like to preserve all that exists on the Moon at the moment. Armstrong’s footprint, a Soviet Moon-research vehicle, remains of Luna-16. There is also our pennant lying somewhere there,” he added. “This is of course international jurisdiction, which must be updated. And such work is underway at UN’s Legal Subcommittee,” Popovkin reported.