China's 1st Mars Probe Arrives in Russia
    2009-08-06 17:12:41      Web Editor: Qin Mei

China's first Mars probe has been transported to Moscow along with a team of Chinese scientists, Beijing News reported on August 6, 2009.

After passing the research phase, China's first ever Mars probe Yinghuo-1 was sent to Russia for compatibility tests and it will take off atop a Russian launch vehicle from Baikonur Cosmodrome space base in Kazakhstan in October.

The probe is expected to stand the tough tests of being frequently exposed to spells of almost nine hours in the freezing, dark shadow of the red planet of Mars during which the solar panels will be unable to generate any power.
Though China is relying on Russia for launching, tracking and controlling the micro-satellite, the Mars probe project is still regarded as a milestone that will mark a giant step forward in China's space exploration.

Pang Zhihao, a researcher with the China Academy of Space Technology says, "If Yinghuo-1 enters the preset orbit smoothly and works well, China will become the fourth country that has ever succeeded in launching a Mars probe, following the United States, Russia and Europe."
Its mission to explore the Martian environment is also expected to fill a blank in our knowledge of the planet, Pang said.
While other countries usually focus on looking for signs of life, the weather or geological research, Yinghuo-1 is expected to provide clues as to whether the sun turned Mars dry by studying the relationship between oxygen molecules and solar winds.

The probe will carry several cameras, a magnetic field sensor and an ion detector.
The distance between the Mars and the Earth is between 56.7 million km and 400 million km, depending upon their orbital positions. Yinghuo-1 will travel 350 million km over 11 months before entering the planet's orbit, and is expected to send back its first images of the red planet in September next year.


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