A small step to­ward a big fu­ture

China Daily (Hong Kong) - - FOCUS -

Wit­ness­ing the Long March-3B rocket blast off from the Xichang Satel­lite Launch Center and see­ing the sci­en­tists and tech­ni­cians hug­ging each other was a truly emo­tional mo­ment.

As I watched from a moun­tain top ob­ser­va­tion point high above the launch pad in the chilly morn­ing, I saw the rocket emit a daz­zling trail of fire, while the thun­der of the ris­ing colos­sus stunned me and shook the earth.

The lu­nar rover Yutu, or “Jade Rab­bit”, will con­nect a long-cher­ished dream of the Chi­nese peo­ple with the glo­ri­ous his­tory of hu­man ex­pe­di­tions to the moon. A his­tory that has been sus­pended for nearly four decades.

“That’s one small step for a man, one gi­ant leap for mankind,” said Neil Arm­strong, the first hu­man to stand on the sur­face of the moon. I have re­mem­bered those words since the first time I heard them, and they con­tinue to in­spire me. They made me be­lieve that some fun­da­men­tal as­pi­ra­tions — love, peace, beauty, truth, hap­pi­ness and the im­mor­tal spirit of ex­plo­ration — are shared and cher­ished by all hu­man be­ings.

Many peo­ple had made long trips from all over China to the small town of Xichang to see the launch. They told me they were proud of China’s lat­est achieve­ment and that the coun­try has be­come one of the world’s strong­est coun­tries in terms of sci­ence and tech­nol­ogy.

I shared their feel­ings. How­ever, more im­por­tant, in my opin­ion, is that the de­ci­sion to send the probe means hu­mankind has re­vived its am­bi­tion and de­ter­mi­na­tion to ex­plore the moon. coun­try is spark­ing a new “space race” among the ma­jor pow­ers.

Sci­en­tists I spoke with at the Xichang center said that in the near fu­ture, China will build its own space lab, ex­plore Mars and then send probes fur­ther out into deep space.

Th­ese fu­ture achieve­ments will even­tu­ally be used to serve and im­prove the well-be­ing of the Chi­nese peo­ple and the en­tire hu­man race, they said.

“More glo­ri­ous chap­ters in the story of mankind’s peace­ful de­vel­op­ment of space are in front of us,” they added.

Ir­re­spec­tive of whether you be­lieve their re­marks or not, his­tory and our chil­dren, or pos­si­bly our chil­dren’s chil­dren, will make the fi­nal judg­ment.

Just wait and see, please. Con­tact the writer at zhaolei@chi­nadaily.com.cn

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