A pathfinding mission to land a robot probe on an unexplored region of the moon is expected to be approved by the European Space Agency (ESA) next year, according to an exclusive BBC report.
The Russian-led mission, to be carried out in collaboration with ESA, is one of a series aimed at eventually sending astronauts back to the moon.
Luna 27, set to be launched in five years time, marks the continuation of a lunar exploration programme that was halted by the Soviet Union in the mid 1970s.
It will help pave the way for manned missions by looking for materials in lunar soil and rock that can be used to provide water, oxygen and fuel for future astronauts.
Ladies and gentlemen, David Bowie: