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Tuesday, December 03, 2013

European-Russian Luna Mission Speed Dating

The European Space Agency (ESA) and the Russian Federation's Roscosmos space agency will be exploring an opportunity for European selenologists to participate in the planned Luna-25 (Luna-Glob lander in 2016), 26 (Luna-Resurs orbiter in 2018) and 27 (Luna-Resurs lander in 2019) missions to the Moon.

On 17th February 2014 an event will be held at ESA ESTEC at which European investigators, with an interest in participating in these missions, will have the opportunity to meet  and discuss opportunities for involvement with selected experiment teams and the Space Research Institute of the Russian Academy of Science (IKI), who are providing scientific leadership of the program, according to the ESA.

Prior to the Luna Glob lander mission in 2016, three private moon missions are planned by Barcelona Moon Team, Moon Express and Astrobotic Technology, respectively, at various times prior to the end of 2015, as each seek to win the Google Lunar X-Prize. The private firms may be joined by the Chinese Chang'e 4 in 2015, presuming success of the Chang'e 3 mission in 2013.

India, China, Russia and the United States governments plan additional lunar missions in the 2017-2018 time frames. China will attempt the first lunar regolith (soil) sample return in decades and the first for their national lunar program in 2018.

Japan and Europe are also considering robotic moon missions in the same time period, but remain in planning stages.  Germany and England may resume projects to explore the moon, but only if budgets permit before the end of the decade.

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