NASA rover’s touchdown thrills Chinese netizens
Published: Feb 19, 2021 08:13 PM


Members of NASA's Perseverance Mars rover team watch from mission control as the first images arrive after the spacecraft successfully touched down on Mars, on Thursday. Photo: AFP


Dubbed the largest, most advanced rover the US space agency NASA has ever sent to another world, "Perseverance" nailed its safe landing at the preset site on Mars on Thursday, drawing a conclusion to its 203-day journey, covering more than 470 million kilometers from Earth.

The successful touchdown, which was announced at mission control at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Southern California around Beijing time 5 am on Friday, immediately thrilled Chinese social media users, with the topic rocketing atop of Sina Weibo search list, gathering over 30 million views as of press time.

Chinese web users applauded the NASA craft's safe landing, and extended their sincere congratulations to the US. 

Commenting under a post featuring cheering NASA personnel during the landing, one netizen wrote that, "Although the US has been picking fights with our country during the past few years, we should not hold back anything but celebrate the rover's landing, as once it flies out of Earth, it represents the entirety of mankind. And our Tianwen-1 is coming next," collecting numerous thumb-ups. 

About the size of a car and weighing slightly over one ton, the nearly $3-billion robotic geologist and astrobiologist nicknamed "Percy" is the fifth rover that the US has safely placed on the Red Planet. 

According to NASA, Percy will undergo several weeks of testing before it begins its two-year science investigation, with a focus on searching for past life at Mars' Jezero Crater. 

The China Aerospace Science and Technology Corporation (CASC), China's state-owned space giant and contractor of the country's first Mars probe Tianwen-1 mission, on Friday morning congratulated NASA for the smooth touchdown of the explorer, saying that "it is hoped that all three human missions to the Red Planet can achieve full success and make new contributions to human kind's deep space exploration."