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China to launch Mars probe in November


BEIJING (PTI): China's first Mars probe will be launched from a Russian rocket in November this year, two years later than originally planned.

The Mars explorer, Yinghuo-1, marks the country's first attempt at deep space exploration after sending a probe to the moon, state run People's Daily reported Monday.

The 110-kilogram micro-satellite was originally planned to be launched in October 2009 from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan but the launch was postponed.

The orbiter is due to probe the Martian space environment with a special focus on what happened to the water that are supposed to have existed on the planet.

China is aiming to build a space exploration programme on par with those of the United States and Russia.

China currently has a probe -- the Chang'e 2 -- orbiting the moon and carrying out various tests in preparation for the expected 2013 launch of the Chang'e-3, which it hopes will be its first unmanned lunar landing.

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