Space: Pros And Cons of a Flight to Mars

A modest Gorbachev proposal gets an ambivalent U.S. reception

For years, U.S. and Soviet space scientists have agreed that Mars is a tantalizing target for exploration. Fragmentary data suggest that the planet may once have possessed a denser atmosphere, a warmer climate and even bodies of water. Many questions about life on Mars remain unanswered. So when Mikhail Gorbachev again declared only days before the Moscow summit that the U.S. and Soviet Union should "cooperate on a flight to Mars," ears perked up in labs and offices from Los Angeles to Moscow. Even the Reagan Administration, which has balked at similar Soviet overtures, was at pains not to dismiss out...

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