NASA is building the massive Space Launch System (SLS) to send its astronauts on their way to Mars, but its powerful throw weight can help ground-bound explorers, too. Astronomers calculate that with a big enough space telescope, they can sample the atmospheres of planets orbiting other stars—exoplanets—for the signatures of life. Launching such an observatory could be a job for the SLS. Planetary scientists, too, are interested in using the SLS to hasten deep-space robotic ...


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