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Post by Chicago Astronomer Joe on Jan 28, 2006 5:47:24 GMT -6
Russian Rocket Builder Aims for Moon Base by 2015, Reports Say
MOSCOW (AP) – The head of a leading Russian space company said it was considering plans to set up a permanent moon base by 2015, a statement that appeared to be an effort to win government funds rather than a specific action plan, news reports said Thursday.
Nikolai Sevastyanov, the head of the state-controlled RKK Energiya company that built Soyuz and Progress spacecraft, said that mining helium-3, a potential rich source of energy, and harnessing it back to Earth would be a key priority in the moon exploration program, the Gazeta.ru and Lenta.ru Web sites reported.
Sevastyanov said a Russian moon base could start tapping helium-3 in 2020. He and other Russian space officials have made similar projections in the past, but the government hasn't allocated any funds yet for moon exploration.
Scientists believe the moon's rich resources of helium-3 could be used in futuristic fusion reactors on Earth that would generate electricity without producing nuclear waste. Such fusion technology could also power rockets for deep space travel in the future.
There is so little helium-3 on Earth that the technology hasn't been studied much. The moon appears to have it in abundance because it lacks the atmosphere and magnetic field that keep helium-3 from raining down on our planet from outer space.
Ya, I read about this. It is a big step towards interplanatery commute thing!! Just imagine, in few decades, people planning their vacation - off to the moon. Though it seems like Russians want to turn moon into some industrialized energy generating planet instead.
Just a thought - You know how there's always been this competition between US and Russia - like going to the moon - I wonder if US is going to beat them to this.