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Landing on Mars giant leap for China in development of space technology

Source: Updated: 2021-05-17


Technical personnel celebrate after China's Tianwen-1 probe successfully landed on Mars at the Beijing Aerospace Control Center in Beijing, capital of China, May 15, 2021. [Photo/Xinhua]

Around 50 Mars missions have been launched globally so far since 1960. Yet more than half of them have failed to reach the planet some 55 million kilometers away from the Earth.

So after China's Mars probe, Tianwen-1, was launched on July 23 last year, there was an anxious wait to learn its fate.

The news that the craft carrying exploration rover Zhurong landed safely on the surface of the planet on Saturday has therefore been met with both relief and celebration in the country.

That the landing was carried out exactly as planned has made China the latest member, after the United States and Russia, of the club of the world's pioneering Martin explorers, and shows the reliability of the relevant technologies that China has developed on its own.

Though the first Mars mission of the country, it was a bold undertaking: to complete orbiting, landing and roving in one single mission.

It is that can-do spirit of self-reliance that has played a key role in China's scientific and technological development in recent decades despite some foreign countries' attempts to thwart its progress in this regard.

China made its early breakthroughs in rocket and space technologies with its own scientists, engineers and scientific workers starting from the 1960s under very difficult conditions when the country remained largely a backward agricultural country and faced foreign blockades of technology and materials.

However, the country has made the most of what it had over the past more than six decades, making unremitting efforts to forge ahead in the aerospace cause. Thanks to the hard work and even sacrifices of generations of scientific workers, China has laid a solid foundation for the fast development of its aerospace industry, and has achieved one milestone after another in its space endeavors, including manned space flights, lunar exploration, and its BeiDou Navigation Satellite System.

Late last month, China sent Tianhe, the core module of its future space station, into space, kicking off a series of launches that will complete the construction of the station around 2022.

All these achievements have contributed tremendously to the peaceful use of outer space, and to the common good of the people, as many projects China has initiated with other countries in agriculture, climate change, disaster prevention and reduction, ecological preservation, are based on them.

China has always welcomed and participated in global cooperation on the peaceful use of outer space. During its Mars mission, China has worked with European partners and others.

In the human space odyssey, China, with enthusiasm, diligence and willingness to cooperate, will help propel humankind to travel faster and farther.

The views don't necessarily reflect those of Qiushi Journal.