Russia's space agency, Roscosmos, has publicly confirmed its plans to create a permanent habitation on the Moon. In a talk at the Global Space Exploration Conference, Roscosmos head Vladimir Popovkin said that "we’re not talking about repeating what mankind achieved 40 years ago... "We’re talking about establishing permanent bases." This isn't the first we've heard about Russia's Moon base. In March, a leaked Roscosmos road map suggested that it could send a manned mission for that purpose sometime after 2025. Popovkin has also previously said his agency was in talks with potential European and US partners for such a base.

While NASA is planning a manned asteroid mission but otherwise scaling down its goals, Russia's program is incredibly ambitious, allegedly including a manned Mars mission and additional new space stations. Russia also currently provides all transportation to the International Space Station. Other countries, however, have expressed interest in lunar exploration as well. A top official from Japanese agency JAXA said that "we are looking at the Moon as our next target for human exploration."