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This article is from the In-Depth Report The Future of Deep-Space Exploration
See Inside December 2011

This Way to Mars: How Technologies Borrowed from Robotic Missions Could Deliver Astronauts to Deep Space

By adapting ideas from robotic planetary exploration, the human space program could get astronauts to asteroids and Mars cheaply and quickly

NASA now has the best opportunity in a generation to refocus itself on new types of space vehicles that reach into interplanetary space. The greatest barriers to space exploration are not technical but a matter of figuring out how to do more with less. If NASA plans an incremental sequence of technology development and missions of steadily increasing ambition, human spaceflight can break free of low Earth orbit for the first time in 40 years and enter its most exciting era ever. With flexible planning, NASA can forge a path to wander among the wandering stars.

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