The prospects of advancing astronautics are largely connected with the exploration of the Moon and the establishment of inhabited bases on it, General Director of the Central Research Institute of Machine-Building (TsNIIMash) Gennady Raikunov has told Interfax-AVN.
"All efforts must be concentrated primarily on the exploration of the Moon in the first place," he said answering the question what the continuation of the International Space Station (ISS) program may be.
"The potential of ISS has been largely exhausted," he said.
"There is little place for installing scientific equipment inside or outside of the station. The installation of energy-intensive systems is problematic because the station is already running out of energy. The microgravitation and vibration of ISS sections hinder high-precision experiments. Fuel is necessary to maintain the orbit and so on," Raikunov said.
"It's high time to look further and higher," he said.
"There is the Moon, the natural satellite of the Earth. It doesn't have the problem of orbital space debris; the dimentions are absolutely different there. It is possible to install a radar, optical systems, many other large tools for tackling various scientific tasks on its surface, for instance. There is no atmosphere, no gas and dust environment. By building bases on the Moon one can accumulate experience of arranging human life on another planet, using minerals or water ice. Water from thawing ice can be used not only for drinking but for decomposing to oxygen and hydrogen for use as fuel for oxygen-hydrogen jet engines," Raikunov said.
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