China launches independent, unmanned Mars mission

Long March 5 Y-4 rocket carrying unmanned Mars probe of Tianwen-1 mission takes off in Wenchang

WENCHANG, China (Reuters) – China launched an unmanned probe to Mars on Thursday in its first independent mission to visit another planet, a bid for global leadership in space and display of its technological prowess and ambition.

At 12:41 p.m. (0441 GMT), China’s largest carrier rocket, the Long March 5 Y-4, blasted off with the probe from Wenchang Space Launch Centre on the southern island province of Hainan.

(Reporting by Ryan Woo; Editing by Tom Hogue)

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