Humans will return to the moon in the next decade while they will set foot on Mars in the middle of our century, Russian leading physicist and space researcher, Lev Zelenyi has told CNA.
Professor Zelenyi, who is also the Director of the Space Research Institute of the Russian Academy of Sciences, and the Vice President of the Russian Academy of Sciences, has given a lecture in Cyprus on “The Future of Lunar and Mars Exploration”, organized by the Cyprus Space Exploration Organisation (CSEO) in the framework of the CSEO international space summit that took place last week in Cyprus.
Invited by CNA to say when he believes humans will return to the moon, he said that this will probably happen in the middle or the end of the next decade.
‘I am in favour of humanity’s return to the moon’, he said, ‘but not for something permanent’.
Describing the moon as our ‘seventh continent’, he said that it is so close to the earth that, in comparison to Mars, there is no need for something permanent.
The Russian physicist told CNA that on the moon there are excellent conditions for lunar radiotelescopes and this would allow better research of the cosmos.
The future on the moon is radioastronomy, he pointed out.
Asked by CNA where he would like to travel in our solar system, if he had the opportunity to do so, he immediately replied he would go to Europa, one of Jupiter’s moons.
There, he said, there are many chances to find something interesting, as he put it.
It is noted that scientists believe that a water ocean exists beneath the surface of Europa that could harbor extraterrestrial life. Space agencies are preparing for future missions to this interesting moon.
In his speech, he referred to Mars and talked about the past and future plans to go to the red planet. The Professor also presented the ExoΜars project, a joint mission of Russian Roscosmos and Europe`s ESA, which will inter alia search for evidence of past and present life on Mars.
Asked when will humans set a foot on the red planet, he said that this will happen by the middle of the century.
He pointed out that Mars is a hostile planet to humans, not only due to its atmosphere and dust storms but also due to the dangerous cosmic rays.
“We must not be too optimistic nor too pessimistic, we must be realistic,” he said, noting that humanity has a lot of work to do before sending the first humans safely to Mars.
CNA acted as media sponsor of the event.