The space race may have ended with America’s victory decades ago, but that doesn’t mean Russia has lost interest in space travel. In fact, the country is more interested in space travel than ever before. The head of Roscosmos, the Russian equivalent of NASA, recently announced that his agency is working with the European Space Agency to put astronauts on the moon again, except this time they won’t be America.
Before 2030, Russia plans to land its first cosmonauts on the moon, and Europe wants a piece of the action. They’re a little late for the great space race of the 1960s, but the mission is an admirable push for the reignited interest in manned deep-space travel. On Tuesday, at a space and technology conference in Moscow, the head of Roscosmos Energia — Russia’s version of NASA — announced: “A manned flight to the moon and lunar landing is planned for 2029.” And the European Space Agency, which made history last year by landing the first spacecraft on a comet, is teaming up. “We have an ambition to have European astronauts on the moon,” Bérengère Houdou, head of the lunar-exploration group at ESA’s European Space Research and Technology Center, recently told BBC News. “There are currently discussion at international level going on for broad cooperation on how to go back to the moon.” Russia and Europe have expressed interest in establishing a permanent base on the moon, and they have already begun taking the fist steps toward this goal.