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Monday, January 08, 2007

Kremlin Prefers Space Aliens to Starving Russian People

You undoubtedly know, dear reader, that Russia is suffering from widespread, intense poverty (an average monthly wage of $300 and a declining population). So what challenge has Russia decided to tackle first? Why, discovering alien life forms, travelling to the Moon and then visiting Mars of course. MoneyControl India reports:

Russia is to launch a special satellite this year in search for extraterrestrial civilisations in remote galaxies. The Spektr R (Spectrum-Roentgen) x-ray satellite to be launched later this year will carry a 20-metre antenna for the study of galaxies and extraterrestrial civilisations.

"It would be arrogant of us to presume that human beings are the only life in the universe," Georgy Polishchuk of the Lavochkin Research and Production Enterprise was quoted as saying by ITAR-TASS. Polishchuk, who heads the Moscow-based enterprise, said that Lavochkin was also working on interplanetary missions. "In 2009 we plan a mission to Phobos, a satellite of Mars, which will include a landing and collection of rock samples," he said. According to him this one-way journey would take 11 months, while the second Martian mission planned for 2012 would involve a landing on the Red Planet. Polishchuk, however, conceded that a manned mission to Mars would only be possible after 2020.

Lavochkin is also planning to send probes to the Moon after 2010. "After 2010-12 it will be possible to circumnavigate the Moon, make a landing on it and deploy a Moon rover for an excursion," Polishchuk believes. The next stage in the study of the Moon will see the establishment of a laboratory on its surface which will search for minerals, study the Moon's energy potential and make a detailed cartographic survey of the terrain. The space designer said that spacecraft could be sent to the Moon aboard the new Russian carrier rocket Soyuz-2, while heavier equipment would be delivered by an Angara launch vehicle.

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