Russia heading to the moon in 2015 with new probe

first_imgAfter years of uncertainty, Russian scientists are again casting their eyes toward the moon. The Space Research Institute of Russia announced recently that it plans to launch a lunar probe called Luna-Glob in 2015. You might be thinking that the moon is old news, but a lot has changed since the US last had boots on the lunar surface.Luna-Glob will consist of an orbital platform and a lander that will touch down on the surface and send data back to Earth. This will actually be only the first of four probes in this new moon-centric program. The missions will start by taking readings on lunar regolith and radiation levels. After that, future missions might include sending physical samples back to Earth. These would be the first pieces of the moon to be collected since the Apollo missions. There is also the little matter of ice deposits on the moon that NASA only just discovered in the last few years.The Luna-Glob mission was originally conceived of in the late 90s, but Russia’s economic situation worsened to the point that the project was put on hold. Recent improvements have put the launch back on track. Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev recently approved the use of roughly $70 billion on the Russian space program between now and 2020.A new moon probe is a good first step, but Russian scientists are also working on early plans for manned missions to the moon or Mars. The Soviet Union lost the space race during the cold war, but maybe they’re getting back on track.via Reuterslast_img read more