HOUSTON—As NASA works to accelerate a return to the lunar surface with astronauts from 2028 to 2024, the agency’s human exploration and science mission directorates are assessing a range of small-mission strategies to help prepare it for Mars at a brisker pace with high-value science missions at more affordable costs. The effort is an outgrowth of the agency’s October 2015 First Landing Site/Exploration Zone Workshop for Human Missions to the Surface of Mars. It was held ...

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