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Experts, media worldwide applaud successful landing of China's spacecraft on Mars

Source: Xinhua Updated: 2021-05-17

BEIJING -- China's Tianwen-1 probe on Saturday touched down at its pre-selected landing area in Utopia Planitia, a vast plain on the northern semisphere of Mars, marking the first time that the country has landed a probe on a planet other than Earth.

Foreign media and astronomy experts and officials have applauded the successful landing of China's spacecraft on the Mars surface.

NASA Associate Administrator Thomas Zurbuchen on Saturday extended congratulations on the successful landing of Tianwen-1.

"Together with the global science community, I look forward to the important contributions this mission will make to humanity's understanding of the Red Planet," he tweeted.

The landing is "a great success" of China's fundamental space research program, said Dmitry Rogozin, head of Russia's state space corporation Roscosmos, on Saturday. "Roscosmos welcomes the resumption of exploration of the planets of the solar system by the leading space powers."

Francis Rocard, a planetologist with France's National Centre for Space Studies, has described the Mars exploration mission as a "great achievement," reported French newspaper Le Parisien.

"The Chinese have played big in this story, and it (the mission) is extremely ambitious," he was cited as saying.

Calling the successful touchdown "a remarkable achievement," the BBC observed on Saturday that "landing on Mars is always a daunting challenge, but China would have had confidence going into the procedure, given the great competence it has shown in its space endeavors of late."

The Mars mission is "a big leap for China, because they are doing in a single go what NASA took decades to do," Roberto Orosei, a planetary scientist at Italy's Institute of Radioastronomy of Bologna, was quoted by science journal Nature as saying.

"The lander was carrying a rover that was deployed on the red planet," and the six-wheel Zhurong rover "marks a major leap in China's space program, which has managed to launch an orbiter, lander and rover in a single mission," observed the Australian Broadcasting Company on Saturday.