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China considers Mars probe
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The National Space Administration (CNSA) is planning to launch a space probe to Mars in 2009, an official with the bureau has revealed.

The country would cooperate with Russia to launch two satellites; one would be a Russian surface probe and the other would take photographs while orbiting around the planet.

According to Zhang Wei, director of the CNSA external affairs department, the bureau is preparing for the project.

"Modern space development has included a sequence of probes sent to study various celestial bodies in the solar system. We want to examine the system's evolution, search for space resources, and discover the cause of catastrophes such as solar activities and planets'crashes," Ouyang Ziyuan, chief scientist from the Chang'e-1 lunar orbiter project, said at Wednesday's Summit Forum of Space Technologies.

China's first lunar satellite began orbiting the moon on the morning of November 7 after the third and final braking during its nearly 15-day journey. The launch is the first step in the country's lunar program that includes landing a man on the surface and building a station.

While there is still no published timetable for future projects, CNSA is targeting other planets and comets, scientists from the bureau disclosed.

(China.org.cn by Wu Jin November 9, 2007)

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