It seems like the race for human colonization outside Earth is now on, with Russia stepping ahead of the other space agencies in establishing the first human colony on the Moon by 2030.

It was in 1969 when the United States won the Space Race, as its astronauts were the first to set foot on the Earth's lone satellite. As Neil Armstrong would put it, it was indeed one giant leap for mankind and true enough, the historic landing was even succeeded by five more U.S. expeditions that ended in 1972.

Almost 50 years later, Russia is back on its feet and is aiming for a much higher, greater leap that could even bring mankind onto the Moon (and they must be the first to do it), especially now that NASA's attention is fixed on the Red Planet.

In a three-step government space program drafted by the Russian Academy of Sciences, Roscosmos, Moscow State University and other space research institutes, the Russian government emphasized the urgency to get ahead of other nations.

Russia mentioned that some "leading space powers will expand and establish their rights to convenient lunar footholds" in the next two to three decades. In the past, India, China and Japan have all expressed their interest in sending missions anew to the Moon.

The ambitious program was leaked to the local newspaper Izvestia and the contents of which were translated to English by Moscow Times.

Russia aims to first send rovers to the Moon by 2016, a project that would cost a whopping 28.5 billion rubles, or 815.8 million in U.S. dollars, thus assistance from private investors would significantly help Russia, the report said.

Come 2028, manned Russian missions are expected to orbit the natural satellite, and finally, humans would fly to the Moon to build the very first infrastructures of the Earth-monitoring observatories, with the materials all coming from Earth.

For deputy Russia prime minister Dmitry Rogozin, a well-known staunch overseer of Russia's space and defense industries, the plan is just the first among the numerous space explorations the Russia wants to achieve.

"We are coming to the Moon forever," he declared last month amid Russia's poised invasion with Ukraine's Crimea. "Flights to Mars and asteroids in our view do not contradict exploration of the moon, but in many senses imply this process."

The planned expansion to the Moon could also do well for future missions as it could be used as a launchpad for father space explorations, Institute of Space Policy research chief Ivan Moiseyev said in an interview with the Izvestia.

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