Russia plans to colonize moon by 2030, report says

Nearly a half-century after America won the Space Race, Russia apparently wants to take another crack at landing on the moon.

A report in the Russian-language newspaper Izvestia Thursday said the nation is planning to put a manned colony on the moon as soon as 2030, and is racing to dispatch the first robotic rovers to explore the lunar surface two years from now, according to The Moscow Times.

By 2028, Russia would be ready to send manned missions to orbit the moon, and in the program's final stage, humans would be sent to the lunar surface to set up the infrastructure for a colony using local resources.

The first stage of the program is expected to cost around 28.5 billion rubles ($815.8 million), though Russia hopes to attract private investors to help bankroll the project.

Benefits of establishing a moon colony include access to the "treasure trove" of rare and valuable minerals, as well as the strategic importance of using the moon as a launchpad for future missions into deep space, The Moscow Times reports.

The paper adds that China, India and Japan are also developing lunar exploration projects, and a California-based company, Moon Express, is planning to send its first robotic spacecraft to the satellite next year, according to the company's website.

U.S. astronauts first landed on the moon on July 20, 1969, and the United States later made five other landings on the Earth satellite. No humans have visited the moon since the Apollo 17 mission in December 1972.

Click here to read more from The Moscow Times.