At the moment, commercial space tourism (think: Space Adventures) is relying on Russian Soyuz rockets to get their sightseers off the planet. This seems to have put some ideas in the Ruskies' heads, because suddenly they're talking a big game about industrialization of the moon. Is the space race back on?
"It is time to think about industrial development of the moon. We are sometimes criticized for making such suggestions too early," the head of the Russian space company RKK Energia, Nikolai Sevastianov was quoted as saying in an interview released on Wednesday.
"But it is time to do this given the limits to natural reserves on Earth and the pace of civilization's progress. Nor can we dismiss the idea of outsourcing harmful industries into space."
Sevastianov said Energia was working on a new space transport system called Kliper/Parom.
"We can start flying to the moon using the Soyuz ships and those technologies that we already have. As for industrial development, that will be with the new technologies that the Kliper system will give us."
For more on the state of the private space travel industry, read thousands of words from me here.