Roscosmos – the Russian Space Agency – has announced plans to permanently station 12 cosmonauts on the moon by 2030.
Apparently, the moon base will be used for research and mineral mining – but some people have suggested it may have a military purpose, reports the Daily Mail.
Plans are for the base to be powered by a sub-surface energy station and a fallout shelter will also be built underground to protect the colonisers from radiation.
According to Russian news agency TASS, work has already begun on building the Luna 25 lander that will pave the way for human exploration.
Plans are to complete the moon mission over six separate launches – each one sending a new module to the moon for the base to be created in sections – a process they estimate will take over ten years.
Russian company Energia have announced plans for a reusable spacecraft that will take both cargo and cosmonauts to the lunar surface.
Russia has never landed a human on the lunar surface and it has not sent a spacecraft to the moon since 1976.
A recent NASA study – The Evolvable Lunar Architecture Plan – outlined a way of building a moon base for around $10 billion (£7bn), revealing it would be possible to establish a moon base within 19 years.
However, some staff have suggested the space agency is actually planning a moon mission as part of its build up to Mars.
It’s thought that Russia’s plans to colonise the moon could trigger a new race to exploit the moon’s resources and the European Space Agency has revealed an interest in joining the Russians’ attempts.
Professor Igor Mitrofanov, a lead scientist at the Space Research Institute in Moscow, told the BBC:
The 21st Century will be the century when [the moon] will be the permanent outpost of human civilisation, and our country has to participate in this process.