I remember when we had to worry about Eastern Europe turning red. Actually, I’m far too young to actually remember any of the older Russian threats, but it’s still something that’s going on in places like Afghanistan. I’m sure the Russians are still funding weapons programs abroad, just like the USA are, but at least there isn’t the tangible threat of nuclear war every day. Well, as long as you discount the North Koreans, and let’s be honest, any country that threatens its neighbours with a fax can probably be safely ignored by the general population of the world.
The threat of the Red Army may have gone into hibernation but the largest moon in the solar system, Ganymede is probably going to turn red. The Russians have allocated $1.52 million (50 million rubles) to develop a technical proposal to land a probe there. I still can’t get away from the Cold War competition to land on our Moon and see this as a one-up of both NASA’s Mars rover and China’s Moon landing. Still, kudos to the Russians for even considering this. Ganymede is believed to contain a saltwater ocean below the surface and is the only moon in our solar system with a magmetosphere according to io9.com.
It will likely take between seven to nine years to get there and the Russians hope to be able to land around 2030 which, unless you are unlucky or old, will likely be in your lifetime. The idea of finding any sort of life in an ocean below the surface of a Jovian moon is unlikely, but I’m still super excited about this. You can read the full back story and the future plans over at the Russian Space Web site here.