Microsymposium 54 on “Lunar Farside and Poles – New Destinations for Exploration” was organized by joint efforts of Brown University, Russia's Vernadsky Institute, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and the NASA Lunar Science Institute.
Speaking at the event, Igor Mitrofanov of the Institute for Space Research (IKI) in Moscow claimed that Russian space scientists were scripting a new plan to reconnect with the moon.
Russia (the Soviet Union then) launched its last moon mission called Luna 24 in April 1976. Then a spacecraft landed on the Earth’s satellite and returned back with samples of Mare Crisium (Sea of Crisis) region.
According to Mitrofanov, the renewed program would allow setting up outposts for humans on the moon, which in the long run would make Mars journeys more attainable.
The scientist outlined Russia's moon mission schedule over the next several years.
“Depending on the success of these [first] three missions, another two will be implemented," he said.
The first mission called Luna 25 is planned for 2015 and would include the launch of a lander designed to analyze the moon’s surface and exosphere. The next two missions are scheduled for 2016 and 2017.
The Soviet Union can boast a number of high achievements, or “firsts”, on Earth’s satellite, including the first spacecraft to impact the moon; first photograph of the lunar farside; and, of course, the first moon rover Lunokhod.
Back in 1960s and 1970s the Soviet Union and the US were fiercely competing to put humans on the moon. American scientists acknowledge now Soviet scientists had certain success in the area, and in light of that the renewed program does not look a reckless idea.
James Head of the Department of Geological Sciences at Brown University in Providence, R.I. said, “keep in mind that this is Luna 25, 26, and 27 … and these aren't numbers taken out of the sky.” These are numbers that continue the sequences of missions that the former Soviet Union has already flown, Head said, most of them very successfully.
Voice of Russia, FOX News