NEXT: ROVERS, SCOOPERS AND MAYBE EVEN ASTRONAUTS

Even before all the talk of Martian microfossils, the Red Planet was a hot target for NASA, with as many as 10 unmanned missions tentatively scheduled during the next 10 years. After the buzz created by last week's foot-high LIFE ON MARS! headlines, all those missions suddenly look a lot less tentative. And with President Clinton choosing this moment to pledge his continued support for space exploration, at least some people at NASA are beginning to whisper again about a project whose name they long dared not speak: a manned mission to Mars.

In general, trans-Martian travel is possible for only...

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