Anatoly Perminov first proposed building the ship at a government meeting Wednesday but didn’t explain its purpose. President Dmitry Medvedev backed the project and urged the government to find the money.
In remarks posted Thursday on his agency’s Web site, Perminov said the nuclear spaceship should be used for human flights to Mars and other planets. He said the project is challenging technologically, but could capitalize on the Soviet and Russian experience in the field.
Perminov said the preliminary design could be ready by 2012, and then it would take nine more years and cost 17 billion rubles (about $600 million, or €400 million) to build the ship.