MOSCOW, Jan 9 (UNI) Russia is technically ready for a manned flight to Mars in early 2020, Academician Lev Zelyony, the director of the Space Researches Institute at the Russian Academy of Sciences, said.
''It is prestigious and real and it is Russia's priority to land a cosmonaut on Mars. This task can be solved both economically and technically,'' Mr Zelyony told Interfax news agency.
If one starts preparing a flight to Mars in the near future, a Russian astronaut could land on Mars in 2023-2025, the academician said. Russia has done more than any other country, including the United States, as far as such an expedition to Mars is concerned, he added.
''We have a certain handicap in this race, because we have the widest experience as to manned space flights. The Mir station worked even in dark 1990-s, than the International Space Station (ISS) appeared. This means that a chain of manned flights has never been torn,'' the academician claimed.
A manned expedition should include unmanned equipment, such as satellites and Mars rovers, because automatic equipment can carry out most of researches, he explained.
''Generally, a person proceeding from purely scientific basis may not fly either to the Moon or Mars: this is unprofitable.
However, an aspiration to study new things is inherent to the nature of a human, and thanks God, this breakthrough cannot be stopped,'' Mr Zelyony said.
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