To explore Mars is a meaningful mission

The successful launch of the probe Tianwen 1 on Thursday in Wenchang, South China’s Hainan province, marks the beginning of the country’s endeavors to find out more about Mars. The probe is named after a poem by ancient Chinese poet Qu Yuan (340 – 278 BC), which is titled the Quest for Heavenly Truth or Questions to Heaven. The poem asks many of the questions that people did not know the answers to at the time. China’s first Mars probe Tianwen 1 is meant to help provide answers to questions scientists today have about Mars. Tianwen 1 is another example of the “strange arts” that can be employed to know more about our solar system and the universe we inhabit. The probe will travel about seven months before it reaches Mars, where it will deploy a rover to roam the surface. The rover will conduct scientific investigations into the planets’ soil, geological structure, environment and possibly water. Despite the fact that NASA has already sent four rovers to the Red Planet, and is planning the launch of a fifth named Perseverance this year, China’s first Mars mission shows how much progress Chinese space scientists and engineers have made in a relatively short space of time. Given the complex technologies needed for the development of the probe and rover, the successful launch marks a remarkable breakthrough for China in outer space exploration technology. It also suggests that China is catching up with the United States and Russia in terms of its space technology development. Mars is said to bear some similarities to Earth, which means it could provide many of the resources humans need. Despite the rovers launched by the US and Russia, there is a long way to go before the mysteries of Mars are unraveled, let alone the successful exploitation of its resources. China’s mission to the Red Planet is therefore of significance to humankind’s exploration of outer space. The country is expected to launch a larger probe to Mars around 2030 which will bring samples back to earth. China has long maintained that the international community join hands to realize the peaceful exploration of outer space, and China will add to the peaceful exploration of outer space by sharing what it learns with the rest of the world. China is open and inclusive in the development of its space technology not least because it believes that the exploration of outer space should help build a community with a shared future for mankind. –CD