Moon theme to continue to dominate space powers' activities in 2008

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Moscow, Dec 7: The ''moon theme'' will continue to dominate next year with space powers, including India, the US and Japan, planning to send probes to the Earth's satellite.

The first Indian earth satellite Chandrayaan-1 and the Japanese automated probe Selene would be launched next year and will help to solve the issue of lunar glaciers.

India and Russia recently signed a joint agreement on developing and delivering a research craft to the Moon. India would contribute a GSLV launch vehicle and a spacecraft for interplanetary travel and study of the Moon from orbit, Ria Novosti reported.

Russia was planning to build a landing module, a lunar rover, and a set of scientific instruments.

All leading space powers were planning lunar programs, citing the need to develop lunar resources and establish extra-terrestrial bases for manned interplanetary missions.

The search for water on the Moon would be central to all the next space missions.

After an interval of more than 30 years, The Russian Luna Globe spacecraft will carry out global studies of the Moon in 2010. It would resume its studies of the Moon's internal structure. It will look for water at the Moon's poles, identify the presence of the core and determine its size.

China, too, plans to join the new moon race. In the wake of its orbiter, it is going to send landing modules and remote-controlled lunar vehicles to the Moon.

The Moon, which has no ionosphere, is a more convenient place for such investigations, search of planetary systems, study of magnetic and plasma disturbances of solar origin, and solution of many other problems.

UNI

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