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Satnews Daily
April 9th, 2012

Russia... Doom + A Moon Boom (Satellites)

[SatNews] Russia plans to send a satellite with a radio beacon to near-Earth asteroid of 99942 Apophis...

...to determine how big is the threat of its collision with Earth, the country's Academy of Sciences said in its report last Saturday. The asteroid is considered by the Russian scientists as the most serious threat to Earth for now. In 2029, Apophis will be at a distance of only about 36,000 miles to our planet, at the height of the orbits of geostationary satellites. The asteroid could change its orbit and cannon Earth in 2036. The core target of the possible mission will be to clarify the exact trajectory of Apophis for up to 2036. The satellite will be equipped with a radioisotope power source with a buffer battery. "From technical point of view the mission could be started for implementation from 2015," the Academy said in the report.

Russia also plans to send two lunar rovers to Moon after 2020 and a landing station after 2022 as the first steps to form the future manned lunar base there, also reported by the Academy of Sciences. Under the document, obtained by RIA Novosti, core aims of the Russian scientists are to study polar regions of Moon and gas-dust exosphere of the satellite, make a soil samples and find the most comfortable areas for lunar base deployment. The first phase stipulates Moon exploration by Luna-Resurs and Luna-Glob probes from 2015, while at the second stage, Lunokhod-3 and Lunokhod-4 lunar rovers will work on the satellite in 2020-2022. The landing station will be sent to Moon in 2023. "The lunar rovers and the landing station will form first elements of space infrastructure for a lunar testing area with prospects of deployment of Russia's lunar base in this area," the report said. (Source for both news items: RIA Novosti.)