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Russia to Launch Lander to Moon of Jupiter

A size comparison of Ganymede, bottom left, to Earth and the Moon.

Russia intends to launch a device to a moon of Jupiter in the 2020s to search for signs of life there, according to a presentation on the plans of the Russian space program given at a conference Thursday.

The project will also analyze Jupiter as a typical gas giant and seek to determine whether conditions on its moon of Ganymede will allow it to be colonized, according to a presentation on the strategic development of Russia's space program to 2030 given at the International Aerospace Salon in Moscow, Interfax reported.

The space program strategy presented at the conference is currently undergoing approval, the news agency said.

Russia's space program has suffered a string of failed launches in recent years, prompting Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev earlier this month to order a reform plan drawn up by the Federal Space Agency.

One high-profile failure came in January, when Russia launched the unmanned Fobos-Grunt space probe, meant to fly to the Mars moon of Phobos to collect soil samples. The device malfunctioned and crashed into the Pacific Ocean days after takeoff.

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