Friday, 26 September 2014

India’s Mars success boosts space research



India's Mangalyaan probe entered orbit around Mars Wednesday morning, which has been hailed by the public throughout the country. People across India, from the authorities to media outlets, feel proud of the fact that India has become the fourth power to put a satellite into orbit around Mars after the US, Russia and Europe. The Indian public fully expressed their elation at having surpassed China in Mars exploration. China's first Mars exploratory probe, Yinghuo-1, went missing one year after its launch in 2011. There is rhetoric on India's Internet that the success of Mangalyaan is pouring salt into China's wounds, which, however, is too serious and strong a characterization.

Apparently, China will not feel jealous of Mangalyaan entering Mars orbit. Chinese people understand that they boast much more advanced technological, economic and social development than India does.

Actually, Chinese people have myriad reasons to feel delighted at the success of the Mangalyaan probe alongside Indian people. If a country that is relatively backward in scientific research is able to send a probe to Mars, it is highly possible that Yinghuo-2 may succeed in the future.

No country can claim to be a leader in every arena. India has proved this point in its competition with China.

When poor nations participate in the space race, they are often sneered at by others and criticized domestically as well.

India sees itself as a major power that is supposed to do something "irrelevant with people's interests" in the eyes of populists. A small country can be composed of schools, hospitals, restaurants and washrooms, while a big one must possess much more advanced technology such as satellites and nuclear-powered submarines, as well as constantly seek technological breakthroughs.

India's space exploration endeavor, against its prevailing social conditions, should be reflected upon by Chinese people. China's space program and the relevance to its social development level were subjected to intensive Western public scrutiny, but the West takes China's competitiveness in space seriously now. India reminds us of the importance of taking the first step.

Though Yinghuo-1 was outperformed by Mangalyaan, China's aerospace sector has made precious achievements in space, such as manned spaceflight and building space stations. Without these previous efforts, we will still be absent in some core fields.

Mangalyaan brings us more affirmation than a sense of competition. Among Net users from both countries, acrimonious remarks are heard against each other, creating an impression that China and India are mired in deep hostility.

But any real conflict of interest between the two is much less serious. Bilateral cooperation is entering the prime stage.

Source: Global Times Published: 2014-9-25