Russian scientists want to send two lunar rovers and several landing stations after 2020 as part of the country’s return to the moon. The planned study of polar regions is aimed at eventually creating a permanent manned base there.
The attention was drawn to moon’s poles by the discovery of ice there, reports RIA Novosti, citing a draft space research roadmap prepared by the Russian Academy of Sciences.
The first stage of the new lunar program will begin in 2015, with the launch of Luna-Resurs and Luna-Glob probes. Both are similar in design and will study south and north poles of the moon respectively.
The missions include landing a station with a small lunar rover equipped for taking soil samples from the depth of up to two meters. The samples will be examined on site.
After 2020 a new stage is scheduled with two bigger rovers planned for delivery. Their missions may last as long as five years, with rovers scouting the area as far as 30 km far from their landing spots.