Russia will return to the Moon after half a century of its last mission on the Earth’s natural satellite. In preparation for the big event, which will take place next Friday, August 11, an entire town near the launch site will be evacuated, a local official said on Monday, Reuters reports.
The Luna-25 lunar lander, the first the space power has launched for that purpose since 1976, will launch into space from the Vostochny Cosmodrome, which lies some 5,000 kilometers east of Moscow.
Residents of the Shakhtinskyi settlement in the Khabarovsk region, which is located southeast of the cosmodrome, will be evacuated early Friday morning. The town is in the area where the rocket boosters are expected to fall after they separate.
“The mouth of the Umalta, Ussamakh, Lepikan, Tastakh, Saganar rivers and the area of the crossing at the Bureya river are in the predicted drop zone,” said Alexei Maslov, head of the Verkhnebureinskyi district.
Luna-25 will launch on a Soyuz-2 Fregat booster and will be the first lander to reach the Moon’s South Pole, according to the Russian space agency Roscosmos. The Indian space agency is also aiming to be the first nation to place a lander at the lunar South Pole on August 23.
The main objective of the Russian mission will be the development of soft landing technologies, the investigation of the internal structure of the Moon and the exploration of resources, including water found in the form of ice in that region. The lander, which includes a robotic arm, is expected to operate on the lunar surface for one year.
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