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Russian Firm Proposes $9.4B Moon Base for Mining

A Russian startup said it is planning to build a lunar base camp for a measly $9.4 billion. But even Russian authorities are cautioning that these plans may be a little too soon. Privately owned Lin Industrial — which counts "World of Tanks" developer Sergei Burkatovsky among potential backers — announced on Wednesday that it was prepared to establish an operational moon base for 550 billion rubles (about $9.39 billion) within 10 years after receiving government approval, according to Russian News Agency TASS. Despite the optimistic projections, Lev Zeleny, director of the Russian Academy of Sciences Institute of Space Research, told TASS, "This is still early to say about construction of a settlement."

The company's chief designer Alexander Ilyin told TASS that the lunar base project would use existing technologies that can be readily produced within five years. This includes the habitation module from Soyuz spaceships, he told the news agency. The lunar camp would need 13 launches of heavy rockets to shuttle the base's required equipment, and then another 37 launches for establishing adequate living conditions, according to TASS.

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— Everett Rosenfeld, CNBC