China launches an independent rocket probe to Mars at 12.41 pm on Thursday which is expected to reach Mars in February 2021.
This is a major milestone in Beijing’s mission to build a world-class space program and racing with the U.S.
According to Chinese media, the probe, named Tianwen-1, was launched via a Long March-5 rocket from Hainan island and is expected to work for at least 90 Mars days.
It is the second time China launched the successful orbiter, lander, and rover to Mars of the summer.
More than a week later, the USSR sent a lander to Mars, which became the first successful landing on the planet, although the lander only worked for 14.5 seconds.
The United Arab Emirates launched its own Mars probe on July 19 and the spacecraft is en route to Mars.
Many countries are taking advantage of a period launching the probe when Earth and Mars are more closely aligned than usual, making for a shorter journey.