The Soviet Union Planned on Going to Mars, too

Roundup: Talking About History

Steven Aftergood, in Secrecy News, the newsletter of the Federation of American Scientists (Feb. 13, 2004):

Life will be discovered on Mars, the CIA predicted. Unfortunately, it will be communist!

As late as 1989, the CIA estimated that it was "likely" that the soon-to-collapse Soviet Union would undertake a manned mission to Mars.

"We believe the Soviets are planning for a manned Mars landing mission some time after the year 2000," the CIA analysis stated.

See "Soviet Options for a Manned Mars Landing Mission," CIA Directorate of Intelligence, December 1989, released in "sanitized" form in 1999, here:


Numerous declassified intelligence documents on the Soviet space program, from the early 1960s to the early 1990s, have been declassified and disclosed by the CIA. A selection of such documents (thanks to Jeff Brower and AT) may be found here:


Anyone with even a passing interest in the history of Soviet space will want to get a copy of "The Moon Race End Game: A New Assessment of Soviet Crewed Lunar Aspirations, Part 1" by Peter Pesavento and Charles P. Vick, in the current issue of Quest Magazine (volume 11, no. 1, 2004).

The authors take full advantage of the latest declassified documents and, by interviews with government officials, go beyond what is in the declassified record.

The article is not available online, but information about Quest Magazine may be found here:



comments powered by Disqus