University of Science and Technology of China: Tianwen-1 Chief Designer Gives Lecture to USTC Freshmen

On the afternoon of September 29, chief designer of China’s first Mars exploration mission (Tianwen-1), ZHANG Rongqiao, brought the lecture, Tianwen-1: opening a new journey of planetary exploration, to all freshmen of USTC.

Chief engineer ZHANG Rongqiao is a famous aerospace expert from the China National Space Administration. He is chief designer of China’s first Mars exploration mission, and organized the second phase of the lunar exploration project.

ZHANG Rongqiao described the development and future prospects of China’s explorations of Mars from four stories: a message, a phone call and a video, congratulations from journalists, an exclamation from the commander, a hug. He reviewed the difficulties encountered in the design, launch and landing of the Tianwen-1. The success of China’s first Mars exploration mission Tianwen-1 is inseparable from the institutional advantages of China’s national system, as well as the historical responsibility of researchers. “Small steps get us to faraway places. For the next steps, we should keep a clear head, and advance to a new height on the journey of interstellar exploration,” ZHANG Rongqiao said.

China’s first Mars exploration mission Tianwen-1 has generated more than 420 gigabytes of primary data, “fulfilling our commitment to the country six years ago—conducting patrols on Mars’ surface by 2020”, he added. To realize China’s grand aspirations, scientists have started to plan for the explorations of Jupiter and Uranus.

In the interaction session, ZHANG Rongqiao answered students’ questions patiently. “Our confidence comes from the strong support of the great motherland, from the mature aerospace technology accumulated in the past, and from our young research team.” He also encouraged students to work hard, and to take the responsibility to develop the national defense science and technology industry in spite of setbacks.