Archive photo: A landing module for the China Mars mission is seen before an obstacle avoidance test and hovers at a test facility in Huailai, Hebei province, China, November 14, 2019. REUTERS / Jason Lee
BEIJING (Reuters) – The Chinese space agency released on Friday the name of its first Mars exploration mission, coinciding with China's annual Space Day and the 50th anniversary of the launch of its first satellite.
The Mars mission was named Tianwen-1, the official Xinhua news agency reported, citing the National Space Administration of China (CNSA).
The unmanned exploration mission on Mars is due to launch this year.
The name comes from "Tianwen", or "Questions to Heaven", a poem written by Qu Yuan who lived more than two millennia ago.
In the poem, questions were raised about stars and other celestial bodies.
The CNSA said that all of China's future planetary exploration missions would be named "Tianwen" to signify the country's scientific activities in space.
China successfully launched its first satellite, Dongfanghong-1, in 1970.
In 2003, it became the third country to place a man in space with its own rocket, after the former Soviet Union and the United States.
Since then, China has been racing to catch up with Russia and the United States and become a major space power by 2030.
Reporting by Ryan Woo; Editing by Robert Birsel
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