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Oct 4, 2013 9:50 AM by Adam Atchison

Mars mission back on track despite shutdown

BOULDER, Colo. (AP) - A satellite mission to Mars is back on track despite the federal government shutdown.

The University of Colorado announced Thursday that its Mars Atmosphere and Volatile EvolutioN mission, also known as MAVEN, has been cleared to proceed toward launch later this year because of a narrow launch window that could have delayed the mission.

Lead CU mission scientist Bruce Jakosky warned the $485 million project to probe the Martian atmosphere slated for launch between Nov. 18 and Dec. 7 could be threatened by the federal government shutdown because it affects NASA.

According to the Boulder Daily Camera, missing the 2013 launch window would have pushed MAVEN's launch back several years, the next best alignment of Earth and Mars.

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