Universities, the aerospace industry and government laboratories have responded eagerly to NASA's call for smaller, less expensive planetary science missions, proffering dozens of innovative proposals. The U.S. space agency is now scrutinizing a thick stack of requests to fly by, orbit, land on, roam over and even return samples from various planets, moons, comets and asteroids. And by next month, NASA will select a precious few to pursue seriously. Eventually, the agency expects ...

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