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Mars probe prepares for lift-off

CHINA'S first Mars probe will take off between October 6 and 16.

The probe is getting its final tune-up in Russia where it will be launched.

The Chinese-developed Yinghuo-1, which means "firefly" in Chinese, will be launched when conditions are most favorable in the 10-day launch window period, Meng Xin, the chief engineer of the project, told the Legal Mirror in Beijing today.

The probe is now in Moscow testing docking with a Russian-made rocket which will carry it on its 350-million-kilometer journey to Mars. The docking should be finished by the end of September.

The probe and the rocket will then be shipped to Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan for its final launch.

The Russian probe "Phobos," which carries the name of the larger moon of Mars, will also be carried on the rocket. It will land on the moon and obtain soil samples.

Unlike the Russian probe, Yinghuo-1 will orbit Mars after a 10-month journey instead of landing on the planet.


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