An interplanetary spacecraft for a flight to Mars will be created no earlier than 2025, and the maiden flight to the red planet is possible only after 2035, Russian space agency Roscosmos chief Anatoly Perminov said on Wednesday.
"The possibility of a flight to Mars needs to be combined with the construction of a spaceship having a new nuclear power propulsion unit, which will make it possible to reach the planet in a month," Perminov said in Russia's upper house of parliament.
Quoted by RIA Novosti, he said the propulsion unit is to be built by 2019.
Some 7.2 billion rubles ($256 mln) is to be allocated as part of the state nuclear corporation Rosatom's innovation development program in 2010-2018 on the joint project with Roscosmos to create a nuclear power unit-based transport module for the future spacecraft.
Answering questions from senators in the Federation Council, the Roscosmos head called flights to Mars on board existing spaceships "absurdity," and added that the prospective flight could only be organized on an international level.
Russia, as well as the United States, has been developing technology to produce nuclear-powered spacecraft for decades.
Roscosmos and NASA are planning to discuss the development of a nuclear-powered spaceship on Friday during talks in Moscow.