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China shows first high-def pictures of Mars taken by Tianwen 1

60403ca2a31024adbdb7ce62Tianwen 1, the country's first independent Mars mission, was launched by a Long March 5 heavy-lift carrier rocket on July 23 from the Wenchang Space Launch Center in Hainan province, kicking off the nation's planetary exploration program as chinadaily informs. 

The 5-metric ton probe, which consists of two major parts - the orbiter and the landing capsule- has flown for 224 days and about 475 million km. Currently, it is about 212 million km away from Earth, according to the administration.

It entered its preset parking orbit above Mars on Feb 24 and would fly in this orbit for about three months before releasing its landing capsule, said the administration.

All of the seven mission payloads on the orbiter will be gradually activated during the probe's stay in the parking orbit to carry out scientific tasks and also to observe and analyze the landforms and weathers of the optimal landing site, it noted.