News & AnalysisPlanetary Science

Price Tags for Planet Missions Force NASA to Lower Its Sights

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Science  11 Mar 2011:
Vol. 331, Issue 6022, pp. 1254-1255
DOI: 10.1126/science.331.6022.1254

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Scientists choosing the missions they want to send across the solar system in the next decade knew their recommended program wouldn't come cheap. But for the first time in a planetary science decadal survey, outside consultants estimated mission costs, and the process has produced huge numbers for the largest proposed missions. Those numbers have forced some painful and unprecedented recommendations in the committee's report, which was released Monday evening at the annual Lunar and Planetary Science Conference.