More than 40 years after it abandoned its plans for the moon, Russia is investing $40 million in a new spacecraft it plans to use for a mining mission, according to a new report.
The Sun is reporting Russian President Vladimir Putin has instructed his top space officials to land a colonization mission on the moon within 15 years. The mission to the Boguslavsky crater on the moon’s southern hemisphere would seek to mine precious metals found under the lunar surface and deliver them back to Earth. The last lunar mission launched from the then-Soviet Union was the Luna-24 probe in 1976.
Rather than using human cosmonauts, however, the mission would entail the use of a robotic “cyber cosmonaut,” which would work from an automated “space station” that directed robotic spacecraft with preprogrammed mission parameters. The mission would pave the way for “construction and use of bases on the moon and potentially other planets.”
There’s an inherent danger in such a mission, if it were to be “weaponized.” Science fiction writer Robert Heinlein theorized exactly how large quantities of ore mined from the moon could be hurled back at earth—with precision—in a book he wrote in 1966.
“The Moon is a Harsh Mistress” tells the story of a large computer system used to run a lunar colony that reaches singularity and becomes sentient, helping to lead a revolution of lunar colonists against the governments of Earth. The colonists use massive “space rocks” mined from the moon, directed by the AI, to level Cheyenne Mountain in their effort to win a war for their independence.