Europe and Russia mission to assess Moon settlement

The European and Russian space agencies are to send a lander to an unexplored area at the Moon’s south pole.

It will be one of a series of missions that prepares for the return of humans to the surface and a possible permanent settlement.

The spacecraft will assess whether there is water and raw materials to make fuel and oxygen.

BBC News has obtained exclusive details of the mission, called Luna 27, which is set for launch in five years’ time.

The mission is one of a series led by the Russian federal space agency, Roscosmos, to go back to the Moon.

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Russia to build gas pipeline in Pakistan

Russia and Pakistan have signed an agreement to construct the North-South gas pipeline, according to the Russian Energy Ministry.

The project will be headed by RT Global Resources, a subsidiary of Russia’s state technologies corporation Rostec. In 2014, RT Global along with Pakistan’s Inter State Gas System (ISGS) announced they would build oil and gas infrastructure in Pakistan.

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Syria: What can Russia’s military do?

This is the first Russian military operation beyond the boundaries of the former Soviet Union since the end of the Cold War.

But the US and its coalition partners have already conducted more than 7,000 air strikes in Syria and Iraq against the so-called Islamic State (IS). And even on the most optimistic assessment their impact has been limited.

IS is contained but in no sense defeated. So why should Russia be able to do any better?

Russia of course is restricting its strikes to Syria. Its initial combat missions suggest that its fundamental aim is to relieve pressure upon President Bashar al-Assad’s embattled forces and that its list of targets will go well beyond those exclusively linked to IS.

But what military capabilities do the Russians actually have? What weapons can they use? How does the Russian air force compare to its Western equivalents? And what ultimately can it achieve?

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