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What trends will take upper hand in space exploration?
by Boris Pavlishev
Moscow (Voice of Russia) Dec 10, 2012

A flight to an asteroid is as dangerous as a flight to Mars. The reason here is that a cosmonaut will get a similar dose of harmful radiation when he stays in interplanetary space for several months, says director of the Space Research Institute, Lev Zeleyony.

Space exploration in the future is linked to the creation of habitable bases on the moon. This opinion was expressed by head of Russia's leading research institute of the country's space agency Gennady Raikunov. According to him, the potential of the International Space station has almost exhausted itself, and it's high time to look "further and higher".

At present, large amounts of equipment are installed on board the ISS with great difficulty. The station is experiencing a power shortage. After 2020, its use has to be gradually reduced, and we must shift to the moon that has unlimited space. Radars and large equipment can be installed on the moon.

Lunar bases would help people acquire experience to live on another planet. After melting ice, water can be reduced to oxygen and hydrogen that can be used as fuel for rocket engines, the scientist says.

The U.S. planned to return to the moon but during the Obama Administration, these plans were abandoned. The American President has called a visit to an asteroid by the middle of 2020s as a priority. Concerning the choice of asteroid NASA official John Charles has this to say in an interview with the Voice of Russia.

However, a flight to an asteroid is as dangerous as a flight to Mars. The reason here is that a cosmonaut will get a similar dose of harmful radiation when he stays in interplanetary space for several months, says director of the Space Research Institute, Lev Zeleyony. He insists that the moon is much more favourble.

"A bunker can be built at a depth of 1.5-2.0 meters below the moon's surface. Cosmonauts can live there without coming out to the surface. There are materials to protect them. It's unclear how to protect oneself from radiation on an asteroid.

"It takes only 2 to 3 days to fly to the moon. There is lot of interesting physics there, and there may be organic matter brought in by comets. In short, people have a lot of things to do there," Lev Zeleyony said.

There is no need for cosmonauts to consistently stay in the research base subjecting themselves to unnecessary radiation. They can watch over scientific equipment working in shifts. The scientist believes that asteroids should be studied using automatic probes without risking human lives.

Russians and Americans have made their choices with regard to where they should fly after the Earth's orbit. Each side will search for new arguments to convince the skeptics.

owever, all disputes will end some day because there is only one sacred goal for the space powers. It is the flight to Mars in the middle of the century. One country would hardly be able to carry out the mission on its own, so most likely, the expedition will be multinational.

Source: Voice of Russia


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