China sets up 'discovery factory' to explore the universe

The Zhurong spacecraft touched down on the surface of Mars Monday morning, kicking off a mission expected to last about 90 days.

China's space program has reached a historic milestone, with the Zhu Rong rover successfully landing on Mars during the first attempt of the Tianwen 1 mission, the report said. Armed with scientific instruments such as terrain cameras and surface composition detectors, the rover will study the planet's soil, minerals and atmosphere, as well as look for signs of water ice.

China is the second country after the United States to land a rover, the report said.

In recent years, China's space program has taken on increasingly ambitious missions. Last month it put into orbit the first module of a planned space station, which it hopes will be operational by around 2022. China also plans to set up a permanent lunar base in the next few years and has invited other countries to participate.

The report also said that Chinese technicians have used new materials for the rover, which can shake off dust by vibration, to help it avoid dust storms on Mars.

In addition, the website of the South China Morning Post in Hong Kong also published on May 21 the headline "Discover the Factory" : China vision, for large scientific projects, to explore the universe according to the report, never in one place so much expensive, glittering, seemingly futuristic device - 1188 of the 5195 CMS detector, magnetic particle detector, 78000 square meters of water cerenkov detector array and 18 wide-angle cherenkov telescope.

On a mountaintop 4,410 meters above sea level in Daocheng, Sichuan province, the equipment makes up the High Altitude Cosmic Ray Observatory (LHAASO), one of the world's largest cosmic ray detectors, the report said.

Researchers at the observatory recently announced that they have observed the highest energy photons. More importantly, in less than a year, the observatory has helped astronomers discover more than a dozen mysterious sources of ultra-high energy radiation in the Milky Way.

'It opens a window into a whole new world,' the report quoted the project's chief scientist, the High Altitude Cosmic Ray Observatory, as saying.

The report notes that China has continued to invest in research facilities in recent years, many of which are so large that they constitute, as one physicist put it, "discovery factories."

In the remote mountains of China's southwestern Guizhou province, the Five-hundred-meter Aperture Spherical Radio Telescope (FAST) stands out as the world's largest radio telescope.

The report quoted a Chinese astronomy professor as saying that China has long followed the West's footsteps in space exploration, and that the landscape of astronomy research in China is rapidly changing thanks to FAST, LHAASO and other large research platforms that have recently been built or will soon be built. There are many more exciting discoveries to come. "Great hardware leads to great discoveries," he added.

Most exciting for astronomers, the report notes, is the soon-to-be commissioned China's Space Station Project Survey Telescope, a giant space telescope with a field of view about 300 times the size of the legendary Hubble Space Telescope.

The Chinese space telescope will be launched after the completion of the Chinese space station, the report said. "If the Hubble telescope has opened a corner of the universe with high-definition images, then the space survey telescope will bring back high-definition images of the whole universe for mankind," said a Chinese astronomer.