Suit: NASA specialist axed over intelligent design

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LOS ANGELES (AP) -- NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory has landed robotic explorers on the surface of Mars, sent probes to outer planets and operates a worldwide network of antennas that communicates with interplanetary spacecraft.

Its latest mission is to defend itself in a workplace lawsuit filed by a former computer specialist who claims he was laid off for promoting his views on intelligent design.

Trial in the case begins Monday in Los Angeles Superior Court.

David Coppedge worked as a "team lead" on the Cassini mission exploring Saturn and its many moons.

He lost his "team lead" title in 2009 and was let go last year.

JPL denies any discrimination.

Intelligent design supporters believe a higher power had a hand in creation because life is too complex to have developed through evolution alone.