Four research rovers to be launched under lunar program

Four research rovers will be launched under the lunar program of the Space Research Institute of the Russian Academy of Sciences to take soil samples in addition to performing other missions, Institute Director, Academy Vice-President Lev Zelyony has told Interfax-AVN in an interview.

Research rovers will be launched under the lunar program. Source: NASA

Four research rovers will be launched under the lunar program of the Space Research Institute of the Russian Academy of Sciences to take soil samples in addition to performing other missions, Institute Director, Academy Vice-President Lev Zelyony has told Interfax-AVN in an interview.

"We have an extensive program for the distant future, which includes manned missions. It is still being discussed. There is also what we call a scout program - four robotic rovers to be launched to the Moon," Zelyony said.

"Luna-25 will be the first vehicle. It is so called because the last Soviet lunar spacecraft launched in 1976 was called Luna-24. We want to emphasize that our program is based on the work of Soviet space industry giants," he said.

The Luna-25 mission is scheduled for late 2017 - early 2018, the institute director said.

Luna-26 will be next. The rover will be carrying twelve payloads with a total weight of 120 kilograms (265 lb). The project will incorporate results of U.S., European, Indian, Chinese and Japanese probes.

"We will adjust Luna-26's instruments so that we can get new results and move forward," Zelyony said.

Luna-27, which is due to land on a polar area of the Moon, will be the core of the lunar program, he said.

"It will be tasked with taking samples of the soil from a depth of up to two meters and preserving inclusions of volatile compounds," Zelyony said.

Luna-28 will not only take soil samples from the Moon but will also bring them to Earth for a finer geochemical analysis and isotopic tests.

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