Russia racing to Mars

Derrick

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From AFP:

Russia is leading the race to complete a manned mission to Mars and could land a Russian on the Red Planet by 2025, a leading scientist was quoted as saying.
“We have something of a head start in this race as we have the most experience in piloted space flight,” the director of the prestigious Space Research Institute, Lev Zelyony, told Interfax news agency on Tuesday.

The goal of becoming the first country to land a human on Mars is “technically and economically achievable” by 2025, he said.

Mars is the most prestigious prize for the Russian space industry if it wants to boost the country’s “scientific and political prestige” through manned space flight, he said. “We lost the race to the moon,” Zelyony said.

The United States achieved that goal on July 20, 1969, when Apollo 11 commander Neil Armstrong became the first man to set foot on the moon.

The last manned US mission to the moon was the December 1972 flight of Apollo 17.
 
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