A version of this article appears in the July 21 edition of Aviation Week & Space Technology. The surface of Mars is the most ambitious target for human explorers in the foreseeable future, given the state of technology, funding and political will today, according to a U.S. National Research Council study team that examined the issue over the past year and a half (AW&ST June 23, p. 38). Robots have been there for decades, scouting the way for the spacesuited humans who will ...

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