By Yu Jianbin
“The landing left a Chinese mark on Mars for the first time. It is another landmark progress in China’s space industry development,” said Chinese President Xi Jinping in a congratulatory letter on the successful landing of China’s first probe on Mars.
After nine months of journey and the “nine minutes of terror of deceleration, the probe Tianwen 1 successfully landed on the surface of the red planet.
Xi remarked that that the landing marks an important step in China’s interstellar exploration and a leap from the exploration of the Earth-Moon system to interplanetary exploration.
The landing of Tianwen 1 on Mars was an important part of China’s first Mars exploration mission, as well as a key step in making the mission a success.
When the rover Zhurong, which is named after the god of fire in ancient Chinese mythology, reaches the Utopia Planitia in the northern hemisphere of Mars and starts scientific exploration, the first Mars exploration mission of China will have completed its goals as expected.
From being launched on July 23 last year and starting a new chapter for China’s planetary exploration, to becoming the first manmade Mars satellite of China and taking the first high-definition picture of the red planet, and to making the first landing of a Chinese probe on a superior planet, Tianwen 1 made a series of new breakthroughs in China’s deep space exploration in less than 10 months. It brought the country’s interplanetary exploration onto a new level, and is no doubt an epic achievement in the history of spaceflight.
The journey to the remote red planet showcased the persistent and brave exploring spirit of the Chinese spaceflight sector. Mars exploration is known for its high risks and difficulties, as well as the uncertainties existing in the long-distance interstellar flight. In particular, the landing is the most challenging part of it. Around half of Mars exploration missions failed, and most of the them went wrong in the landing process.
The thin and unstable atmosphere, complicated landscape, extremely gigantic sand storms, and communication delays on Mars just gave Tianwen 1 the hardest nine minutes during its mission.
It astonished the world that the Chinese spacecraft has made it through on its first mission to Mars, safe and sound.
Behind the success are a series of key technologies that China has developed. The short nine minutes represented the ceaseless hard work and innovation of the Chinese spaceflight industry.
Mars is a terrestrial planet in the solar system that has the closest environment to Earth. It is also one for which the mankind have the most active imagination.
At present, the range of human activity in space has covered various kinds of celestial bodies, including the sun, planets and their satellites, and asteroids. The exploration of and studies on planets will both expand the range and help reveal the secrets of the Earth, and at the same time, exert an important influence on the discovery of extraterrestrial life forms.
As the first stop of China’s planetary exploration, the Mars mission is a key link that connects the exploration of the Earth-Moon system and the interplanetary exploration. It bears remarkable significance, starting from Mars and going afar. It will make huge achievements in developing frontier aerospace technologies and scientific exploration, and satisfy people’s curiosity in the vast universe. The landing and following exploration are a leap in not only aerospace technology, but also planetary science.
China’s first Mars rover is about to debut in the red planet. Let’s wait and see what it will bring to us.