Russia plans to spark a new space race by sending a nuclear-powered spacecraft to Jupiter by the end of 2030.
Stat media reports that the country's Roscosmos space agency has big plans for the mission – which will include trips to both the Moon and Venus before heading off to Jupiter on the months-long space journey.
The first mission of Russia’s nuclear-powered transport and energy module, Zeus, will last a total of 50 months, Roscosmos Executive Director for Long-Term Programs and Science Alexander Bloshenko has said.
He said during the New Knowledge forum: "The combined duration of the mission is 50 months."
To pull the incredible mission off, Russian scientists will need to successfully develop new "space tug" technology that can carry equipment and possibly astronauts hundreds of millions of miles.
Bloshenko also confirmed that the first flight has been scheduled for 2030.
"Together with the Russian Academy of Sciences, we are now making calculations about this flight’s ballistics and payload," he said.
According to Bloshenko, the space tug will first approach the Moon, where a spacecraft will separate from it.
After that, it will head to Venus to perform a gravity assist maneuver and deliver another spacecraft.
Then, it will depart towards Jupiter and one of its satellites.
Last December, Russia’s space corporation Roscosmos and design bureau Arsenal signed a contract for developing a preliminary project of a nuclear-powered space tug Nuklon, to be used in deep space missions.
The contract signed on December 10 is estimated at more than 4.17 billion rubles (around £40 billion). The delivery date is July 28, 2024.
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Last year the Russian space chief said Venus is a "Russian planet" and the Kremlin is sending probes to find aliens on its 465C surface.
Dmitri Rogozin, head of Roscosmos space agency, announced the plans after British and American scientists found possible signs of life in the planet's clouds.
He said: "We believe that Venus is a Russian planet.
"Our country was the first and only one to successfully land on Venus.
"The spacecraft gathered information about the planet – it is like hell over there."
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