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Tags: Lin Industries | moon base | rare earth elements

Russian Company to Build Moon Base, Mine for Rare Elements

By    |   Wednesday, 31 December 2014 04:41 PM EST

At a cost of less than $10 billion, a Russian company has plans to construct a manned base on the moon within the next decade.

However, Russian space planners believe that the venture actually would be less expensive — in fact, they think it would be profitable, Russia Beyond The Headlines (RBTH) reports.

Lin Industries, partly funded by Sergei Burkatovsky, one of the developers of the video game "World of Tanks," hopes to build the $9.7 billion base on the moon and start deploying infrastructure parts as early as 2030, if the Russian government signs on to the plan, Tass reports.

Lin Industries is developing a lightweight rocket, the Taimyr, which would be piggybacked into space on Russia's Angara A5 heavy-load rocket for the first part of its flights to the moon, Tass notes.

Lin estimates that it will take 13 launches to build the base and 37 more launches to provide necessities for the astronaut team living there.

The long-range goal would be mining the moon for rare earth elements used in the construction of electronic equipment, Vladislav Shevchenko, Sternberg Institute head of the Department of Lunar and Planetary Research, told RBTH.

Rare earths such as cerium, lanthanum, neodymium and praseodymium are running low on earth and their production currently is monopolized by China. However, Shevchenko told RBH, producing them from lunar mining would make development of a manned moon base economically attractive.

"We think that the lunar surface contains enough rare earth metals,” Shevchenko told RBTH.

Russian scientists already are working on a means to provide power to such a base, either through solar or nuclear energy, once it is constructed, Vladimir Koshlakov, Deputy Director General of the Keldysh Research Center, told RBTH.

Tass notes that the Russian government is considering a $35.5 billion moon exploration program between now and 2025, which would include preparations for the moon base.

The site of the new base would be the moon's Malapert Mountain, near the southern end of the moon, and Lin's chief designer Alexander Ilyin told Tass that "this is a quite flat plateau with the Earth in direct sight that provides good conditions for communications and is a comfortable place for landing. The sun is shining for 89 percent of the day on the mount. The night, which takes place there only several times a year, does not last more than three to six days."

Lev Zeleny, director of the Russian Academy of Sciences Institute of Space Research, told Tass: "This is good that they are dreaming. There are talented people in their team. Several of their developments can be useful in the future."

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At a cost of less than $10 billion, a Russian company has plans to construct a manned base on the moon within the next decade.
Lin Industries, moon base, rare earth elements
Wednesday, 31 December 2014 04:41 PM
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