Applause met the completion of a lander test on Thursday, November 14.
Its journey through space should take about seven months, while touching down on the red planet will take about seven minutes.
This was the mission’s chief designer, right before the test.
(SOUNDBITE) (Mandarin) CHIEF DESIGNER OF THE CHINA’S FIRST MARS MISSION, ZHANG RONGQIAO, SAYING:
“In today’s test we are mainly going to verify the following procedures including the lander’s separation from the main body of the spacecraft from an altitude of 70m and then hovering at 70m searching for a safe landing spot and then descend to a level of 20m in an obstacle avoidance mode.”
China has developed a powerful rocket called Long March 5 to transport the probe.
It’s off to the moon first to bring back samples of lunar rocks.
China became the third nation to put a man in space with its own rocket in 2003 — after the former Soviet Union and the United States.
And made its first moon landing a decade later.
It’s also expecting to finish a space station in the next few years, as it races to catch up and become a major space power.