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(5 Dec 2008 01:48 GMT) - NASA's Mars Science Laboratory will launch two years later than previously planned, in the fall of 2011. The mission will send a next-generation rover with unprecedented research tools to study the early environmental history of Mars. A launch date of October 2009 no longer is feasible because of testing and hardware challenges that must be addressed to ensure mission success. The window for a 2009 launch ends in late October. The relative positions of Earth and Mars are favourable for flights to Mars only a few weeks every two years. The next launch opportunity after 2009 is in 2011…
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