Russia Pondering 2020 Manned Mars Mission

Russian scientists plan to launch a manned expedition to planet Mars by 2020 and are calling for international cooperation, according to the Itar-Tass news agency. Anatoly Grigorev, head of the biomedical institute affiliated with the Russian Academy of Sciences, was quoted by Tass as saying Wednesday that Russian scientists are aiming to send a manned probe to Mars sometime between 2016 and 2020. Grigorev said the Mars mission would be the next major space project after construction of the International Space Station (ISS) is completed and urged the countries taking part in the ISS project — primarily the United States, Europe and Japan — to participate in the Russian Mars exploration plan.