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Thu Aug 30, 2012 4:1PM
File photo shows Jupiter and its largest moon, Ganymede, on the left.

File photo shows Jupiter and its largest moon, Ganymede, on the left.

Russia intends to launch a robotic lander to a moon of Jupiter in the 2020s to search for signs of life on the fifth planet from the Sun and the largest planet within the Solar System. According to a report published by The Moscow Times on 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. Russia’s space program has suffered a string of failed launches in recent years. A Russian robotic probe designed to study a moon of Mars got stranded in Earth orbit after its launch in November 2011, and eventually came crashing down in January. Russia lost a military satellite in February 2011, a telecommunications satellite in August of that year, and three navigation satellites in December 2010. Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev, in a bid to uplift Russia’s space industry, earlier this month ordered a reform plan drawn up by the Federal Space Agency. Russia's space agency chief Vladimir Popovkin has also ordered the establishment of quality inspection teams at plants that produce rocket parts. The inspectors are authorized to stop production if they see that a plant is struggling to maintain quality standards. MP/JR
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