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Russia unveils ambitious lunar, Mars exploration plans

Moon as seen by Apollo 12
NASA

Recent planetary missions by Russia have not been met with a lot of success. The 2011 Fobos –Grunt, a sample return mission to Phobos, a moon of Mars, failed because a rocket engine failed to initiate a burn to place it on a trajectory to the Red Planet. However, according to January 29, 2014 story in Space Daily, Russian planetary exploration ambitions remain unabated.

First up, in 2015, with be the Luna-Glob, a lander that is envisioned to touch down at one of the lunar poles. It will accompanied by four penetrators that will strike at various parts of the moon and an orbiter.

Luna-Resurs-1will take off in 2015 and will orbit the moon Luna-Resurs-2 will land at the lunar South Pole, will drill for a geological sample, and return it to Earth.

In 2018 Russia will launch a joint Mars mission with the Europeans that will include a small Mars rover built by the European Space Agency.

In 2020 The Russians will make another attempt at Phobos.

After 2020, Russia plans to launch the Venera-D which is designed to land on Venus and survive the intense heat and pressure on that planet’s surface for 24 hours.

Russia’s strategy is to become the world’s leading space power by the year 2023.