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How the players stack up

The US, Europe, Russia, and China are all eyeing future missions throughout the solar system. But getting there will depend, in part, on how much nations are willing to spend. Here are recent budget figures of key players:

• NASA's proposed budget for 2005 is $16.2 billion, up 5.6 percent from $15.4 billion this year.

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• The European Space Agency spends about $6 billion a year.

• Russia spent roughly $225 million in 2003 on its space program, less than 2 percent of what NASA spent that year and barely half of what India spent.

• China's $2 billion annual space budget is almost the same as Japan's.

Sources: New York Times, Associated Press, Reuters, Dallas Morning News,