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China’s Tianwen-1 probe performs orbital adjustment around Mars

Photo taken on Sept. 15, 2020 shows the model of the Mars probe Tianwen-1 at the 22nd China International Industry Fair (CIIF) in east China's Shanghai. (Xinhua/Zhang Jiansong)

  Photo taken on Sept. 15, 2020 shows the model of the Mars probe Tianwen-1 at the 22nd China International Industry Fair (CIIF) in east China's Shanghai. (Xinhua/Zhang Jiansong)

BEIJING, Feb. 15 (Xinhua) — China’s Tianwen-1 probe on Monday performed an orbital maneuver around Mars after it became the country’s first spacecraft to explore an extraterrestrial planet.

A 3000N engine was ignited at 5 p.m. (Beijing time) to ensure the probe’s trajectory passes the poles of Mars. The periareion, the point in the orbit that is closest to Mars, was adjusted to 265 km, according to the China National Space Administration (CNSA).

The spacecraft will perform several more orbital adjustments to enter a parking orbit, said the CNSA.

The probe, including an orbiter, a lander and a rover, successfully entered the Mars orbit on Feb. 10 after a nearly seven-month voyage from Earth.

The lander carrying the rover is expected to land on Mars in May or June. Chinese space engineers and scientists have chosen a relatively flat region in the southern part of Utopia Planitia, a large plain, as a potential landing zone. The rover will be released after landing to conduct scientific exploration.

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