On Saturday Russia will celebrate Cosmonaut Day in honor of Yuri Gagarin as the first man in space in 1961. Along with the celebration Russia’s Deputy Premier announced the Soviet Union’s plan to colonizing the moon by 2040.

He mentioned it is a self-contained goal of Russia to colonize the moon for the purpose of exploring further in space. Having a base on the moon would allow them to explore Mars and an asteroid plus build a lunar laboratory complex used for testing new space technology.

The next two missions will include a launch in 2016 to explore the moons south pole followed by two flights in 2018, one an orbiter to monitor the moon and the other, a polar lander with a drill to search for water.

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