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China's probe will enter Mars orbit on February 10

The Chinese probe will enter Mars orbit on February 10, the Chinese Space Science and Technology Corporation said. It will perform a “stop” manoeuvre so it can be captured by gravity on the Red Planet.
Since January 3, the probe has travelled over 400 million km and lies at a distance of about 130 million km from Earth and 8.3 million km from Mars.

When it approaches Mars, the probe will be 190 million km from Earth, making real-time control impossible by the ground team. “That means she has to execute the commands on her own,” said deputy probe commander Li Zhengzai. He added that once the probe enters orbit, it will begin preparations for the Mars landing.

The Tienuan-1 mission is China's first step for independent interplanetary exploration.


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