- Associated Press - Tuesday, May 24, 2011

LOS ANGELES (AP) - NASA says a piece of hardware that will fly on the next mission to Mars was not damaged in a recent lifting accident.

The space agency says the rover Curiosity will launch in late November as planned.

During rehearsal last week in Florida where parts of the rover have been shipped for launch, a crane operator accidentally lifted the rover’s protective back shell while it was still bolted to a table.

Since the back shell is not designed to take the extra weight, engineers inspected the structure but found no damage.

Curiosity is expected to land on Mars in summer 2012 to study whether the red planet ever had the right conditions to support primitive life.

NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory manages the program, formally known as the Mars Science Laboratory.

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