Russian and Ukrainian scientists have agreed to cooperate in a project to investigate the sun`s future impact on global climate change, a Russian scientist said Thursday, according to RIA Novosti.

      The project, dubbed Astrometry, and using equipment on the International Space Station (ISS), aims to investigate cyclical changes in the physical processes of the sun and their influence on the Earth, and on human activity.

      "The Russian space project Astrometry is a priority space experiment that has been included by the Russian and Ukrainian space agencies in a long-term joint scientific research program in the Russian sector of the ISS," said Khabibullo Abdusamatov, the project manager and a senior member of staff at the main observatory of the Russian Academy of Sciences.

      The astronomer said the project will help elaborate scenarios of future global climate change, which he said result from centuries-long fluctuations in solar radiation intensity caused by relative changes in the diameter of the sun.

      He said the project, which will involve spacecraft manufacturer Energia and a number of Russian research and production centers as well as the main observatory of Ukraine`s Academy of Sciences, is of particular importance given the necessity to specify the time and extent of a global cooling that he believes will occur in the middle of the century.

      Abdusamatov said preparations for the project will be completed in 2008, and scientific equipment is set to be installed in an ISS module in late 2008.

      "We expect the main stage of the project - a regular survey of the sun from the ISS module - to start in early 2009," the expert said.

      He said Ukraine`s participation in the project will give a boost to the research, as Ukraine is expected to provide part of the funding, or to manufacture part of the equipment for the project.