China to launch Mars space probe
China’s first Mars probe has completed testing and is on target for launch, the Shanghai Academy of Space Flight Technology said Friday.
The Yinghuo-1 is to be launched later this year by a Russian carrier rocket and will go into orbit around Mars in 2010 after a 10-month, 236-million mile journey, Xinhua, China’s state-run news agency, reported Friday.
Yinghuo — Chinese for
light from firefly — is to study environmental changes in Mar’s climate, including the disappearance of water from the planet, said Zhang Weiqiang, a spokesman for the academy. The probe is to conduct its research from orbit and is not designed to land.
The Yinghuo-1 project is to be China’s first exploration of another planet.