Preparations for launch of NASA’s Maven, a probe that will be sent to Mars to study that planet’s atmosphere, are back on, according to an October 3, 2013 NBC News story. The work to prepare the probe for launch had been put on hold due to the government shutdown.
Ironically the restart of the Maven was ordered not because of the probe’s scientific objectives, but because it would help protect United States government property on the surface of Mars.
“NASA Headquarters in Washington determined that Maven's preparations should go ahead on an emergency basis — not because of its scientific objectives, but because of its expected role as a communications relay satellite for the Opportunity and Curiosity rovers on Mars.”
Currently Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter and Mars Odyssey have been serving as relays for NASA’s two rovers on the Martian surface. Both probes, now in Martian orbit, have long exceeded their design lifetimes. Therefore the Maven will be needed to take over their communications relay duties. Thus the launch to take place in late November or early December will take place after all.