Charles Elachi says finding life beyond Earth would be “the discovery of the millennium,” if not the most dramatic “in all our human history.” Yet after more than 50 years of exploring space, mankind is still alone in the universe, as far as we know. Now, building on the desires of planetary scientists polled in the latest decadal priority list, and on what can only be called the obsession of a powerful member of the U.S. Congress, engineers and scientists are ...

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