China should dream big in outer space

Source:Global Times Published: 2015-9-29 23:58:01

The US National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) announced on Monday they had found strong evidence of the existence of flowing water on Mars.

It is like a bomb that shocked the world. Although some remain skeptical of the conclusions, NASA's claim has shown serious progress in scientific exploration.

The US has sent more than 20 spacecraft to the Mars since 1964, among which several probes have landed on the surface of the red planet. The Curiosity is still roving Mars and sending back information. NASA is leaving the other space competitors far behind.

NASA's far sight and one discovery after another have met our curiosity and gained respect from the world, including the Chinese people. At the same time, its discoveries gives us a sense of urgency.

China was the third country to send an astronaut into space. It sent the Jade Rabbit probe to the surface of the moon.

However, while the US has been getting close-up inspections of almost all planets in the solar system, China's Mars probe, Yinghuo 1, lost contact before leaving the Earth orbit. China has no deep space telescope, and no spacecraft flying out of the solar system - the gap with the US in space technology is deep.

The disturbing thing is that the Chinese public does not have a strong will to catch up with the US in space exploration. When it comes to other scientific activities beyond satellite launching, there is a tremendous public outcry, with popular protests like "Why not use the money to improve ordinary people's lives?"

Earth is relatively small and limited. Humanity is destined to explore for more resources and a greater sphere of existence in the future.

Perhaps it is time China sets up a special organization for space exploration. Its tasks should not be limited to Earth-related things like launching satellites. It needs to eye the solar system, the galaxy and the universe. It should work on things that satisfy people's curiosity and widen humanities' horizons.

This is not a political need to brighten the image of China. It is a necessary step along with China's modernization. China has been following the steps of the West in the past century. Now we need to set our sight for pioneering exploration, ready to explore virgin scientific territory, and dare to accept the risk of failure.

Few people think the US Voyager 1 that headed out of the solar system and the Hubble space telescope that has been in space for three decades are wasted investments.

The Chinese nation is no longer satisfied with living like a farmer who eyes nothing but his own piece of land and a family to raise. We are looking up into space now.

Posted in: Editorial

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