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Mars rover

Technicians monitor movement of the robotic arm of NASA's Mars Science Laboratory rover 'Curiosity', where it is undergoing pre-flight tests, in the 'clean room' of the spacecraft assembly facility at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California September 16, 2010. The Mars Science Laboratory rover about the size of a Mini-Cooper automobile, is due to be launched on its mission to Mars late 2011, arriving on Mars in August 2012. REUTERS/Fred Prouser (UNITED STATES - Tags: SCI TECH)

NASA's Mars-bound rover

The NASA spacecraft nicknamed 'Curiosity' hurtling toward Mars prepared to fire its thrusters Jan. 11 to put itself on course for an August landing.