February 21, 2011
Chinese Mars Probe To Launch In November
State media reported on Monday that China's first Mars probe will be launched from a Russian rocket in November, two years later than originally planned.
The state-run China Daily reported, citing comments from a China Academy of Space Technology official, that China's Mars explorer marks the country's first attempt at deep space exploration after sending a probe to the moon.
Previous reports said the orbiter is due to probe the Martian space environment with a special focus on what happened to the water that appears to have once been abundant on the planet's surface.
China is aiming to build a space exploration program on part with those of the U.S. and Russia.
Its Chang'e 2 probe has orbited the moon and carried out various tests in preparation for the expected 2013 launch of the Chang'e-3, which it hopes will be first unmanned lunar landing.
The spacecraft became the world's third nation to put a man in space independently.
China's Wang Yue is currently participating in a simulation of a mission to Mars in Russia, where astronauts have spent eight months in a space capsule cut off from the world.
On the Net: