The rocket is in place and engineers are carrying out the final checks, as China prepares to launch its probe to Mars this week. It will be China's first interplanetary mission, as it races to catch up with the US dominance of space. The launch is expected to take place no later than Saturday from the southern Chinese island of Hainan. According to reports, if the rocket launch is delayed it would from unfavorable weather. Named after an ancient Chinese poem, the Tianwen-1 which consists of an orbiter, rover and lander, is expected to reach Mars sometime in February 2021 and will collect samples from the planet's surface.