According to the Pravda news agency, work on a base could begin sometime between 2030 and 2035.
The development is the latest in a number of announcements outlining Russia’s plans to land on the Moon – a feat that eluded it in the Cold War space race of the sixties and seventies.
Igor Barmin, the president of the academy, toldTASS news agency that Russia had considered all aspects of building a lunar base.
“The main structure will consist of both inflatable and transformer modules,” he said. “We’ve arrived at the conclusion that all of the modules to be delivered to the Moon should be high factory readiness ones. And they are to contain a nuclear power source.”
The Russian space agency is reportedly considering sending small payloads into orbit around the Earth. These then would be collected together and towed to the Moon.
A new space race
Barmin added that the European Space Agency (ESA) and Roskosmos had already begun work on designing a series of missions to the Moon in the 2020s to probe the difficulties of constructing settlements.
A Volga-Dneper Airlines Antonov-124 delivers cargo to Russia’s Kazakhstan space station (Roscosmos)
In particular, Russia and the EU have discussed siting any future base on the south pole of the Moon, where there may be significant quantities of water, which would cut the cost of living in a lunar settlement.
Scouting missions are planned by 2020, and will probably concentrate on the Aitken basin, shown in the cool blue area the infrared Nasa photograph, above.
The US is also interested in extra-terrestrial colonisation, and has been discussing the practicalities and purposes of siting bases on the Moon and Mars, and which should be tackled first.
China is also planning lunar construction, although it has stated that its main goal is to accomplish a manned landing on Mars by 2020. Last month, Wu Weiren, the head designer of its lunar missions, gave an interview to the BBC in which he said China would investigate the far side of the moon before landing men there.
He said: “China is one of the only nations currently setting its sights on the moon. While space budgets in the US and Russia have shrunk since the heyday of the Space Race, China is ramping up its spending.”