Russian newspaper Izvestia obtained previously unreleased drafts of a Putin-fied program yesterday to colonize the moon in 2030.
Among contributors to the 16-year plan to place a permanent habitable lunar base on the south pole of Earth’s only extra-human satellite were "Lunokhods" (Moonwalkers) from the Roscosmos federal space agency, Russian Academy of Sciences, and Moscow State University, according to RIA Novosti.
Stage one plans a lunar rover landing in 2016 and will cost Russia 28.5 billion rubles ($800 million). That seems like a grossly inaccurate lowball, seeing as NASA's Project Apollo cost $20 billion during the program's 10 years.
The document outlines a series of three- to four-year lunar projects over the next 16 years—four between 2016 and 2025—centered on identifying the geographic makeup of the planned lunar base site. The Moonwalkers' plan is thought to be in response to George W. Bush's Vision for Space Exploration, which planned an American lunar outpost for 2019–2024. But on December 4, 2006, NASA officially shut down its Lunar Architecture Study. Designs for America's lunar outpost module included habitable "bubbles," solar power cells, unpressurized rovers, an In-Situ Resource Utilization unit, and a crew transport vehicle.
Mineral extraction—aluminum, iron, titanium—and permanent sovereignty, the two objectives explicitly written into the document, would require some serious innovation in long-term space stays if Russia holds to its no-foreign-parties declaration.
"Independence of the national lunar program must be ensured regardless of the conditions and the extent of the participation in it by foreign partners," the document reads.
It continues with its lofty promises, planning to add a space- and Earth-monitoring observatory on the lunar base, according to the Moscow Times. Vladimir Putin could not be reached for comment on the observatory's prospective price tag, but his Victory Day parade cost millions.