Ahead of Elections, Putin Says Russia to Send a Spaceship to Mars in 2019

Published March 15th, 2018 - 02:30 GMT
Russian President Vladimir Putin has unveiled Russia's plan to launch a series of missions to Mars. (AFP/ File)
Russian President Vladimir Putin has unveiled Russia's plan to launch a series of missions to Mars. (AFP/ File)

Vladimir Putin has unveiled Russia's plan to launch a series of missions to Mars.

The Russian President said the space programme would start with an unmanned launch in 2019 to explore the Red Planet.

With days to go before presidential elections, he told a documentary: "We are planning unmanned and later manned launches into deep space, as part of a lunar program and for Mars exploration. 

The closest mission is very soon, we are planning to launch a mission to Mars in 2019."

Russian President Vladimir Putin (pictured) has unveiled Russia's plan to launch a series of missions to Mars 

Russian President Vladimir Putin (pictured) has unveiled Russia's plan to launch a series of missions to Mars.

The Russian President said the space programme would start with an unmanned launch in 2019 - before later manned missions to explore the Red Planet (file picture)

The Russian President said the space programme would start with an unmanned launch in 2019 - before later manned missions to explore the Red Planet.

The president revealed the plans in an interview shown in a new documentary by Andrey Kondrashov.

The Kremlin strongman added: "Our specialists will try landing near the poles because there are reasons to expect water there. 

There is research to be done there, and from that, research of other planets and outer space can be undertaken."

This is the first time news has emerged about the mission and Russia's next journey to the planet was previously expected to come in 2020.

Russia's next expected journey to the planet previously expected to come in 2020, as part of the ExoMars rover mission, whose main goal is to find out if life has ever existed on Mars. The initial stage of the mission, the  Trace Gas Orbiter (artist's impression), entered orbit   in  2016

Russia's next expected journey to the planet previously expected to come in 2020, as part of the ExoMars rover mission, whose main goal is to find out if life has ever existed on Mars. 

The Trace Gas Orbiter launched in March 2016 with the ill-fated Shiaparelli Demonstrator Module aboard a Proton rocket
The pair arrived at the red planet in October of that year – but, just days before reaching the atmosphere, Shiaparelli was ejected toward Mars, ESA says

Russia’s space agency, Roscosmos, and the European Space Agency are cooperating on the ExoMars rover mission.

Its primary objective is to search for signs of microscopic life, whether living or fossilised, on the Red Planet.  

The initial stage of the mission, the ExoMars Trace Gas Orbiter, entered orbit around Mars in October 2016, although an accompanying lander crashed.  

The announcement comes after NASA unveiled its own £1.5billion ($2.1 bn) Mars exploration bid.

The announcement comes after NASA unveiled its own £1.5billion ($2.1 bn) Mars exploration bid, the Mars 2020 mission (artist's impression of Rover), which is timed for a launch in July/August 2020 when Earth and Mars are in good positions relative to each other for landing 

The announcement comes after NASA unveiled its own £1.5billion ($2.1 bn) Mars exploration bid, the Mars 2020 mission, which is timed for a launch in mid-2020 when Earth and Mars are in good positions relative to each other for landing. 

The Mars 2020 mission is part of NASA's Mars Exploration Program, a long-term effort of robotic exploration of the red planet.

NASA hopes the mission will help to answer key questions about the potential for life on Mars.

The mission also provides opportunities to gather knowledge and demonstrate technologies that address the challenges of future human expeditions to Mars, including producing oxygen from the Martian atmosphere, and identifying water.

By Julian Robinson


© Associated Newspapers Ltd.

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