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Mars Orbiter to launch this week

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NASA plans to scout out landing sites on Mars.
"It's time we start peeling back the onion layer and start looking at Mars from different vantage points," said project manager James Graf of the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, Calif.

Like the three current spacecrafts flying around Mars -- including a European orbiter -- the latest probe will seek evidence of water and other signs that the planet once could have hosted life. The $720-million mission, which launches from Cape Canaveral, Fla., also will serve as a communications link to relay data to Earth.

We slowly are building an exploration infrastructure in orbit around Mars.