Physics

Should NASA keep flying flagship missions? A new report weighs in

Should NASA keep flying flagship missions? A new report weighs in

NASA’s biggest, most ambitious missions may cost billions — but they’re well worth it, according to a report published Thursday.

The findings, released by the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine, may help settle the question of whether the agency should be investing in missions of this size.

Before he retired last year, John Grunsfeld, then associate administrator for NASA’s Science Mission Directorate, commissioned the outside report. The goal: to assess the role of NASA’s large strategic missions — projects like the James Webb Space Telescope, set to launch in 2018, or the Mars Science Laboratory rover (a.k.a. Curiosity), which has been exploring the Red...

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