Space agencies of Europe, Russia may join in mission to Jupiter moon

Aug. 29, 2013 at 7:45 PM
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MOSCOW, Aug. 29 (UPI) -- The space agencies of Russia and Europe are considering cooperating to study the largest moon in the solar system, Jupiter's Ganymede, one agency chief says.

European Space Agency General Director Jean-Jacques Dordain said Europe planned to send an orbiter to Ganymede while for a separate mission Russia's federal space agency, Roscosmos, is planning on sending a landing module, RIA Novosti reported.

"We intend to study how these two missions may interwork, because our orbiter and the Russian landing module are capable of interacting with each other," Dordain said Thursday while attending an aerospace show near Moscow.

Russian and European scientists plan to begin the Jupiter missions in the early 2020s, and if successful they would mark Russia and Europe's first missions to any of the outer planets of Jupiter, Saturn, Neptune or Uranus.

ESA's project to study three of Jupiter's moons -- Ganymede, Callisto and Europa -- was officially approved in May and is scheduled to be launched in 2022.

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