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Mars Curiosity rover: A close up look

25 November 2011 Last updated at 15:36 GMT

Nasa is set to launch its biggest ever robotic rover to Mars to learn if the planet is, or has been, suitable for life.

Curiosity - also called the Mars Science Laboratory - will be lowered on to Mars using cutting edge technology.

At 900kg it is too heavy for the airbags employed to cushion landings on previous Mars missions.

Instead, the rocket-powered sky crane will gently lower the rover to the surface using a tether.

Science correspondent David Shukman got a look at a full-scale replica of Curiosity.