The new NASA budget request pulls the plug on two long-planned joint missions to Mars with the European Space Agency, but agency managers say they are already in touch with their ESA counterparts about a smaller-scale Mars mission in the 2018 planetary launch window. Mars exploration would be cut $226.2 million in fiscal 2013 under the new NASA budget request released Feb. 13, down from $587 million in the current fiscal year. The remaining $360.8 million will go for the ...

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