China has successfully launched its first Mars exploration mission. The probe carries a rover which will monitor the weather conditions on the planet and look for ice under its surface.
The launch took place on Hainan Island in southern China. The probe, which was carried into space by the Long March-5 Y4 rocket, is expected to reach Mars around February 2021.
In video: China on Thursday launched a Mars probe on a Long March-5 rocket from the Wenchang Spacecraft Launch Site on the coast of southern China’s island province of Hainan. pic.twitter.com/1kT0Uhgf7N
— People’s Daily, China (@PDChina) July 23, 2020
The probe, which is part of the Tianwen-1 (Questions to Heaven) mission, contains an orbiter, a lander, and a rover.
The rover is set to explore the Red Planet for over three months. Equipped with two panoramic cameras, the device is expected to identify and study weather conditions and minerals on Mars. Among other things, it can detect the ingredients of the soil 10 meters under the planet’s surface, as well as ice 100 meters below the surface.
The launch took place three days after the UAE sent its Amal (Hope) orbiter into space from a site in Japan, which is also expected to reach Mars next February.
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