NASA hopes its renewed long-term focus on human exploration of Mars will keep its programs moving ahead in the face of real-time upsets in the fiscal and political environment where it operates. Wherever they can find a pulpit, NASA managers have been preaching their “path-to-Mars” approach—“Earth-reliant” R&D on the space station, missions of up to a year in the “proving ground” around the Moon and “Mars-ready” human flights of as ...

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