Russia and China have committed to work together on a moon base and lunar space station, but it will not be ready to house astronauts until at least 2036, the two countries said. Known as the International Lunar Research Station (ILRS), it will consist of a surface moon base and station in lunar orbit, with construction expected to start in 2026. The two nations have asked other international agencies to join them in the project, which will also include rovers and'hopping robots' to aid eventual inhabitants. NASA is working with the European Space Agency (ESA), as well as Canada and Japan on the Lunar Gateway, a modular crewed space station designed to operate in orbit around the moon and help astronauts reach the lunar surface from 2024. While Russia and China are working together on the moon, the two will compete in low Earth orbit, with both planning their own space station to rival the International Space Station (ISS).