A top Russian space expert said Friday that Russia intends to take part in a future international manned flight to Mars.
Nikolai Anfimov, Director of the Central Research Institute forMachinery Construction, told a news conference that the projects of a manned flight to Mars have been worked not only in Russia, but also by specialists from NASA, the European Space Agency, and the space agencies of Japan and Canada.
Under the Russian scenario, which specialists started working on back in the 1960s, six cosmonauts, including the captain, second pilot, flight engineer, space doctor, and two researchers, would fly to Mars on an inter-planetary spacecraft, said the member of the Russian Academy of Sciences.
He said these two space researchers would be the ones to descend to the planet, to spend 30 to 60 days there, and then return to the spacecraft, which would be waiting for them in Mars orbit.
Anfimov believed that a project of a manned space flight to Mars could be possible to implement no sooner than 2015, and only through international cooperation.
Negotiations on this project are currently underway between specialists from Russia, NASA, and the European Space Agency, he said.
Scientists have displayed particular interest in studying Mars since a U.S. unmanned spacecraft equipped with a Russian neutron detector discovered water at a depth of 10 to 30 centimeters underthe surface of Mars last March.