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China launches Wu Kong explorer satellite

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China has launched its first explorer satellite to study dark matter. Dark matter is an invisible material believed to have made up over 95 percent of the universe's mass.

A Long March 2-D rocket carrying the Dark Matter Particle Explorer Satellite blasts off at the Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center in Jiuquan, northwest China's Gansu Province, Dec. 17, 2015. [Xinhua] 

The "Wu Kong," named after the legendary Monkey King, has entered into orbit with its solar wing unfolded. It was lifted off this morning at the Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center, in the Gobi Desert, in Northwest China.

Wu Kong is designed to search for dark matter, a key subject in the study of the cosmos. It's the first satellite in the Chinese Academy of Sciences' space science program, and its mission is expected to run over the next three years.


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