In a documentary Andrey Kondrashov, President Vladimir Putin implied that Russian Federation might beat NASA in sending a space mission to Mars. This would beat the planned Nasa mission to the red planet by a year.
The president revealed the plans in an interview shown in a new documentary by Andrey Kondrashov, it has emerged.
Putin added that a lunar exploration program would also target the polar regions of the moon.
He said: "We are planning unmanned and later manned launches, into deep space, as part of a lunar program and for Mars exploration".
"The first one will be very soon, in the year 2019".
The mission will build on the achievements of the Curiosity rover and other Mars Exploration Program missions, and offer opportunities to deploy new capabilities developed through investments by NASA's Space Technology Program and Human Exploration and Operations Mission Directorate, as well as contributions from worldwide partners. "There, there is progress to be made, studies of other planets, distant space can be started from there", he said in the film uploaded to Russian social media site vkontakte.
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During the discussion, Putin has given a clear vision of Russia's important strategy behind the Mars Mission.
The mission is timed for a launch in July/August 2020 when Earth and Mars are in good positions relative to each other for landing on Mars. However, the mission failed since the probe was not fired in the planet's orbit.
In 2020, the European Space Agency and Roskosmos are planning to send to Mars the second phase of the joint mission of ExoMars, involving the landing of a landing gear and a rover on the surface of the Red Planet.
The Mars 2020 Project at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California, manages the Mars 2020 spacecraft development for the Science Mission Directorate at NASA Headquarters in Washington.
If the manned Mars mission is successful, Putin's faction will get there years before competing missions from SpaceX (which anticipates sending humans to the Red Planet in 2024) and NASA (in the 2030s).
NASA claims that even though Mars 2020 rover is the size of an SUV, its construction is carried out by the whole world.