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Russia, China to Sign Agreement on Joint Moon Base Project Within One Year, Source Reveals

CC0 / / Satellite. (File)
Satellite. (File) - Sputnik International, 1920, 09.03.2021
MOSCOW (Sputnik) - Russia and China plan to ink an agreement on the joint moon research base following the signing of the memorandum on lunar cooperation, Anatoly Petrukovich, head of the Space Research Institute at the Russian Academy of Sciences told Sputnik on Tuesday. 

Earlier on Tuesday, Russia's state space corporation, Roscosmos, announced the signing of the memorandum on cooperation with China's National Space Administration (CNSA) regarding the creation of an international scientific lunar research station.

"We will know more details within the year, as the signing of the agreement is expected within a reasonable period of time. Memorandum is the first step towards this agreement, no one just simply signs the memorandum", Anatoly Petrukovich, head of the Space Research Institute of the RAS, said.

According to Petrukovich, the signing of the memorandum is a "rather important event," but it lacks details and only sets the course for future cooperation. He also noted that under the memorandum the sides have already started to discuss possible approaches to implementing the project. The work on the moon base is expected to intensify in spring, Petrukovich stated.       

"We are currently looking at various scientific tasks, certain technical solutions. We are yet to decide what the base should look like", the scientist said.   

Petrukovich explained that the most logical approach would at first be to create units on the moon's surface from already existing materials for maximum efficiency and coordinate different joint projects using them. 

"An example of such a project would be a seismological study of the moon. To get on with the research, we will need to install seismometers all over its surface. It is a very important scientific task and it cannot be solved in one place", he added.

The Russian and Chinese national flags are seen on the table as Russia's President Vladimir Putin (back L) and his China's President Xi Jinping (back R) stand during a signing ceremony at the Diaoyutai State Guesthouse in Beijing on November 9, 2014. - Sputnik International, 1920, 14.01.2020
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Another prospective project, Petrukovich said, was collecting lunar soil from different parts of the surface and sharing the samples. More complex joint projects could follow.

The international lunar research station is part of China's vision for a robotic base at the lunar south pole. The long-term robotic and potentially short-term crewed missions are expected to be launched in the early 2030s, to support long-term human presence at the moon base by the 2040s.

The decision to strengthen cooperation with China on the moon project followed Russia's opting out from signing the US-backed Artemis Accords in October 2020.

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