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After years of flailing its way into the post-space shuttle era, NASA is beginning to get its arms around just what it will take to explore deep space with human beings. This includes tapping all of its resources to develop a realistic engineering approach to deal with the hazardous environments beyond the Van Allen Belts—and up the street on Capitol Hill—where it operates. 

Having accepted that it won’t receive a blank check to plant the flag on Mars—the only destination that makes sense for human exploration right now—NASA has adopted a space-based crawl-walk-run approach that could get humans to the red planet in 20 years, with a lot of help from international and commercial partners, and only a “modest” increase in U.S. funding (AW&ST April 28, p. 20).

Crawling.  How sad for NASA. To read more, click here.