Russia hasn’t had quite the most successful run with lunar probes, despite being the first nation to touch down on the moon in 1959, ten years before Neil Armstrong. It’s most ambitious probe mission, actually, the $160 million Fobos-Grunt mission destined for Mars failed miserably after it got stuck in Earth low-orbit in 2011.
Now, the Russian space agency is set to return to the moon with an unmanned probe destined for 2015. The launch will take place from the newly opened facility in eastern Amur, in detriment to the historically famous Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan. Named Luna-Glob (Moon-Globe), the space exploration vehicle will weigh an impressive 1,100-pound, of which 55 pounds represent scientific equipment to search for water and take soil samples. The probe will also carry dust monitors and plasma sensors to sense high-energy cosmic rays as well. Russia’s last unmanned moon mission was in 1976.
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