Space: Program for the Planets

With only 2% of NASA's heavily slashed budget at its disposal, the once-ambitious U.S. planetary-exploration program is in danger of expiring before it gets to the launching pad. Anxious to keep from "abandoning the planets to Russia," 23 top space scientists last week recommended a program designed both to appeal to congressional penny pinchers and to reach the planets. In the next seven years, the new plans could take unmanned U.S. spacecraft to Jupiter and beyond.

In a report by the Space Science Board of the National Academy of Science, the experts...