Pure science is taking a backseat to long-term exploration goals as NASA prepares to send robotic scouts to the Moon. Still, a rich scientific haul will be inevitable, even without the peer-review wrangling that normally picks targets for expensive space-science missions. Work on the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO) set for launch in 2008, and on the lander known only as RLEP-2--the second mission in the Robotic Lunar Exploration Program--is being driven more by the need to find a ...

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