View of Earth from  Moon
Russia's future compound on the Moon will operate on "local resources" and feature 3D-printed facilities allowing large standing crews to be housed and supported, Roscosmos space agency revealed.

Russia's ambitions to set up a base on the Moon are no secret, but little is known about what the facilities would look like. On Sunday, Roscosmos shed some light on the issue, saying that lunar construction projects will start after a series of shorter manned missions.

"Large-size compounds will be installed using local resources and additive technologies," the space agency said, referring to one of the newest 3D-printing methods.

Around that time, the lunar base will be furnished with scientific and life-support gear, allowing a larger space crew to survive in the Moon's airless environment. Roscosmos didn't set a timeline for the remarkable effort, but mentioned that it may come true by 2040.

Russia's current lunar plan is to develop a new heavy-lift launch vehicle over the next decade and use it to create the permanent base on the surface. Roscosmos has joined forces with other countries' space agencies on the Lunar Orbital Platform-Gateway, a project to build a manned space station orbiting the Moon.

The Gateway would serve as a relay point for missions to the Earth's satellite and beyond, where spacecraft could be refueled. The plan is for Russia to provide several modules for the station, but it risked landing in disarray after Roscosmos put the collaboration in question last September.

At the time, agency head Dmitry Rogozin complained that the US wanted Russia to "play second fiddle" in the project.

Other countries have already joined in the race to the Moon. In January, China's Chang'e-4 spacecraft touched down on the far side of the Moon. The rover landed in the Von Kármán crater, where it will take measurements and collect scientific data about the Moon's formation and history.