Russian nuclear plant to appear on Mars

Publish date: August 21, 2003

They say that all the necessary technical drawings have been nearly completed, BBC reported.

But experts are already asking questions about the feasibility of the project. The first extra-terrestrial nuclear power station will serve the permanent research camp which. Deputy chief engineer of Red Star – a state scientific company closely affiliated with Russia’s Nuclear Energy Ministry–says the station will be constructed in the mountainous areas of Mars, possibly in one of the canyons. It will produce enough power for future Russian missions to the planet to be fully self-contained and will not need more than six engineers to maintain. Scientists say that the station is now almost ready to be built–all they have to do is to find a way to protect staff and environment from radiation. The only stumbling block is how to deliver ready-made building blocks to a construction site 300 million kilometres (186.4 million miles) away from Earth. The plan is that the heavier equipment will be delivered to Mars by an automatic lander–like the European Beagle which is now making its way to the Red Planet. The scientists say that more delicate goods will arrive in a manned spaceship. Its crew will build both the station and the research base for all future expeditions. The only question whether Russia can afford to implement such an expensive project.