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At the helm of NASA's troubled space science program, Ed Weiler scrambles to carry out research in an era of soaring costs and uncertain politics. Under his watch, two Mars probes failed in a very public and very embarrassing fashion, forcing him to completely revamp NASA's Mars management and strategy. Two weeks ago he announced an unprecedented open competition to find a cheaper way to go to Pluto after deciding earlier this fall to suspend a mission being planned by the Jet Propulsion Laboratory. It's small consolation that most of those problems were sown long before Weiler took over.