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The Planetary Report • July/August 1992

Missions for Microspacecraft

On the Cover: The next wave of planetary exploration could well be conducted by small robotic spacecraft carrying two or three instruments tightly focused on a few scientific questions. The targets for these new microspacecraft will be Earth 's neighbors in the solar system: the Moon, Mars, and the asteroids and comets that pass close to our planet. In the background here is the crater Copernicus, one of the more spectacular features on the mostly inert lunar surface. In the center is the north polar cap of Mars, a repository of water on the now dry and windswept martian surface. To its left is a false-color image of the asteroid Gaspra.
USGS / JPL

Features

4 Doing More With Less: The New Way of Exploring the Solar System: Rex Ridenoure gives several factors that must be addressed if we are to continue exploring the planets.

8 To the Moon: Faster, Cheaper—and Better: Paul Spudis explains how NASA can get back to the Moon with a smaller budget.

10 Starting Small on the Road to Mars: NASA Ames aerospace engineers Robert Hanel, G. Scott Hubbard, Larry Lemke, Ruben Ramos, George Sarver, and Paul Wercinski present two ideas for small, low-cost Mars missions.

12 Japan Sets Out to the Moon and Mars: Hitoshi Mizutani previews the eventful upcoming years for the Japanese space program.

14 Small Missions to Asteroids: The Threat and Future Exploration: Michael Belton asks: what kind of near-Earth asteroid program do we need?

16 Isaac Asimov: Carl Sagan pays tribute to a legend.

Departments

3 Members' Dialogue Hubble, NASA spending, and the Society's mission participation.

17 World Watch SETI in danger, Russia's Mars missions, and NASA's budget.

18 News & Reviews Comet hunting; robots vs. humans in space.

19 Society News Mars rover proves its mettle.

20 Readers' Service Isaac Asimov's Guide to Earth and Space.

20 Q&A What would Earth's climate be like if Earth wasn't rotating?

astronaut on Phobos
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