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
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 Spudisexplains how NASA can get back to the Moon with a smaller budget.