Roscosmos, the Russian space agency, plans to install a nuclear-powered observatory on the south pole of the Moon to help spot meteorites on a collision course with Earth, reports the U.K.’s Express.
The base will operate in conjunction with asteroid-hunting telescopes to survey potentially hazardous space rocks.Said Alexander Bloshenko, executive director for science and long-term programs, “There are plans to install equipment on this base to study deep space — and special telescopes to track asteroids and comets that pose a danger of colliding with Earth.”
The base, he said, also will be used for Russia to test space-faring equipment. Cosmonauts will be sent only “to do the tasks that the robots are incapable of doing.”
A South Pole location has been selected for its favorable conditions, in particular sufficient light to power solar panels and craters containing ice reserves for fuel and raw material.
Russia is pinning its hopes for lunar colonization on Luna 25, a probe set for launch in 2025 — making it the first Russian craft to land on the Moon since 1976. Luna 25 will pave the way for an even bigger coal, a crewed landing and lunar base, reports Spaceflight Insider.
The probe, also known as the Luna-Glob lander, will land in the Boguslavsky crater near the lunar south pole and analyze the region’s regoloth. Its four television cameras will take footage of the area. Another two cameras will observe the work of the probe’s digging tool. A radioisotope thermoelectric device will provide power by converting the heat generated by the decay of plutonium-238 isotope into electricity.
“This mission is a scientific-technological one. We want to carry out scientific experiments there, but this is a technological mission in the sense that we need to return to the Moon, learn how to land, and survive the lunar night, since a lot of what was achieved in the 1970s has been forgotten,” said Vladislav Tretyako, a researcher in nuclear planetology at the Russian Space Research institute. more “Luna 25 Probe to Restart Russian Ambitions on the Moon”