Russia and the U.S. may have raced to land the first person on the Moon in the 1960s, but the next challenges lie deeper in space, the head of the Russian Federal Space Agency told CNBC on Thursday.
"We want to develop presence and long-lasting work on other planets, on asteroids and long-lasting missions,"Igor Komarov, the head of Roscosmos, said in a television interview in Moscow.
He said the agency was also focused on improving astronaut safety and on safeguarding Earth from colliding with an asteroid — an issue that required international cooperation, he said.
Komarov added that the political tensions between the U.S.and Russia were not preventing collaboration in the space industry.
"Some problems … cannot be solved by one country, even (a) big and great power — like asteroid danger," he told CNBC.
The Russian agency is also eyeing Mars. In March, Roscosmos and the European Space Agency (ESA) launched a joint mission to the Red Planet and another is planned for 2018. On arrival, the 2016 mission will search for evidence of gases like methane that could have once helped support life. The 2018 mission will scour the surface of Mars for life, using a drill to collect samples.