China’s first Mars exploration mission has been named Tianwen-1, announced the China National Space Administration (CNSA) on Friday, China’s Space Day.
The name comes from the long poem “Tianwen,” meaning Heavenly Questions or Questions to Heaven, written by Qu Yuan (about 340-278 BC), one of the greatest poets of ancient China.
In “Tianwen,” Qu Yuan raised a series of questions in verse involving the sky, stars, natural phenomena, myths and the real world, showing his doubts about some traditional concepts and the spirit of seeking the truth.
CNSA said all of China’s planetary exploration missions in the future will be named the Tianwen series, signifying the Chinese nation’s perseverance in pursuing truth and science and exploring nature and the universe.
CNSA also unveiled the logo of China’s planetary exploration missions, featuring the letter C, signifying China, international cooperation and capacity of entering space.
China plans to launch the Mars probe in 2020, aiming to complete orbiting, landing and roving in one mission.
Since 2016, China has set April 24 as the country’s Space Day to mark the launch of its first satellite Dongfanghong-1 into space on April 24, 1970. This year is the 50th anniversary of the start of China’s entry into space.
The various activities on Space Day have become a window for the Chinese public and the world to get a better understanding of China’s aerospace progress.
Zhang Kejian, head of CNSA, said that over the past 50 years, Chinese space engineers and scientists have overcome various difficulties and achieved aerospace development through self-reliance and independent innovation.
He said CNSA is willing to work together with the international community to make new and greater contributions to exploring the mysteries of the universe and promoting human welfare on the basis of equality, mutual benefit, peaceful utilization and inclusive development.
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