China has launched an unmanned spacecraft to fly to Mars. The missile with the vessel took off from the southern island of Hainan. Authorities say the launch was a success.
The spacecraft is taking an unmanned cart to the Red Planet. That will be there, after travelling tens of millions of kilometres, driving around and doing research.
It is the first Mars mission that China itself carries out and is called Tianwen-1 (Heavenly Questions-1). The Chinese want to find traces of life and map the surface and soil of Mars.
It is not the first time that China wants to go to the planet. In 2011 it embarked on a journey with Russia, but the mission failed. The vessel got stuck in orbit around the Earth and could not begin the crossing. Eventually, it fared in the atmosphere.
After that failure, China decided to do it itself, and the result is Tianwen-1. That mission takes about seven months to reach Mars. The trolley must then be placed on the surface in April next year.
Not only China is sending a spacecraft to Mars. The United Arab Emirates launched a mission on Monday. At the end of this month, the United States also wants to send another spacecraft to the planet.