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China aims to send probe to Mars by 2020
( 2003-08-29 14:17) (Agencies)

China, not content with the closest views of Mars man has glimpsed since the Stone Age, is hoping to launch a space probe to the red planet by 2020, state newspapers said on Friday.

The probe would orbit Mars and conduct tests on the planet's makeup and atmosphere, the Beijing Youth Daily quoted Liu Zhenxing, a fellow at the Chinese Academy of Sciences' Space Science and Applied Research Institute, as saying.

China is planning to send an astronaut into space for the first time later this year and become the third country to accomplish that feat, after the former Soviet Union and the United States.

Eventually, China plans to land a person on the moon.

Despite rainy weather across parts of China this week and smog obscuring the night sky over many cities, stargazers have joined people around the world enjoying the sight of Mars at its closest to Earth in 60,000 years.

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