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Mars probe makes first mid-course adjustment

By Zhao Lei | China Daily | Updated: 2020-08-03 06:00

China's unmanned Mars probe, Tianwen 1, blasts off on a Long March 5 rocket in Hainan, July 23, 2020. [Photo by Guo Wenbin/China Daily]

If everything goes according to schedule, the 5-metric-ton spacecraft, consisting of an orbiter and a landing capsule, will travel more than 400 million kilometers before getting caught in Mars' gravitational field. The mission's main goal is for the rover to make a soft landing on Martian soil to make scientific surveys.

The spacecraft has begun to conduct scientific operations with the Mars Energetic Particle Analyzer, mounted on the orbiter, which has already transmitted data back to ground control.

It is the first of the 13 scientific devices on the probe to begin operations and will be the longest-working device during the journey toward Mars' gravitational field.

On July 27, Tianwen 1 sent a photo back to the ground control of Earth and the moon that was taken by its optical navigation sensor when the craft was about 1.2 million kilometers from Earth. That photo is the first image from the spacecraft that has been made public.

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