Congress and the White House are headed for a funding brawl over the expensive robotic spacecraft known as flagship planetary-science missions. Flagship missions are rare, because they cost $2-3 billion, and they may become rarer. In its spending request for fiscal 2013, NASA pulled back from work on a peer-reviewed flagship mission to return samples from the surface of Mars, and left it unclear if there will be any more flagship flights to explore elsewhere in the Solar System. Congress is ...


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