• An advanced rocket propulsion concept calls for heating a rocket´s propellant by focusing energy on it from ground-based lasers or microwave sources. The technology could cut the cost of putting payloads into orbit by a factor of five or more.
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  • There are regions on Mars where the ground is much too rugged for a rover to explore. Instead, a robotic, rocket-powered airplane could be the ideal way to investigate some of these intriguing but as-yet inaccessible areas.
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  • Propelled by sunlight pressure, large lightweight sails made of ultrathin aluminum-coated plastic could one day take probes to the edge of our solar system and other stars.
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  • The shrinking technology of cell phones, laptops and cameras are now leading to palm-sized satellites. Easy to build and affordable, these small satellites offer a new way to conduct astrobiology research. They also could change the way we explore the universe.
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  • Unmanned blimps or balloons flying for thousands of kilometers could offer a bird´s eye view of planets and moons.
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