Topping the list of National Research Council priorities is a mission to send a rover to Mars to collect rock and soil samples, and then haul them back to earth, where they'd be analyzed for evidence of life. The Mars Astrobiology Explorer Cacher, known as MAX-C, would also study the planet's geology and climate history. But that mission should only be undertaken if at least $1 billion gets shaved off from the $3.5 billion estimated cost, the committee concluded.
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