US Mars rover Spirit landed successfully on the Mars at about 12:37 pm Jan. 4 (Beijing Time). It is learned that there are over 300 Chinese scientists in US National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA). They are getting along well with scientists from various countries and have made great achievement.
According to report by Taiwan's TVBS, Chinese have played a key role in the endeavor of exploration into the Red Planet. Besides Chinese scientists, one of the founders of the Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) is also Chinese.
Shen Yuxian, an expert in charge of the communications and radar tracking in the Mars exploration, Chen Zhehui, flight director of the Mars mission, Liu Dengkai with the department of aeronautic electronics are all Chinese scientists participating in US Mars program.
The report cited the three experts on Mars research as saying that Chinese scientists made tremendous contribution to the Mars exploration, which can be traced back to half a century ago.
As Shen Yuxian, JPL communications and radar expert introduced, Qian Xuesen, the famous physicist who was dubbed as "Father of Rocket", is just one of the three founders of JPL. Shen said that Qian was in charge of the department responsible for ballistic simulation with mathematics. This history is often mentioned even till now. A US television station once made a documentary on Qian Xuesen.
Chen Zhehui, the flight director of the Mars mission, said that Mars naturally became the next objective after human beings landed on the moon. Presently in JPL, Chinese scientists from across the Straits totaled over 300. Every one of them is dedicated to the program in the hope that some day human beings can land on Mars and do in-depth exploration.
Chen Zhehui, who has been interested in space exploration since childhood, said that working in JPL makes his dream come true. If human beings can go to Mars some day, he would be a volunteer soldier. Once asked in an interview whether he has dreamed of going to Mars, Chen said: "They said they would give a chance of a next flight."
Liu Dengkai from the department of aeronautic electronics was a key figure in the program of Mars Pathfinder in 1997. He was in charge of the automatic control system such as positioning, rotation, descending and communications. He still remembers till now every meeting in which the group discussed every planned order in the past, every step of the spacecraft and every detail.
Additionally, it is learned that Dr. Wu Yilian, one of the most experienced scientist in charge of the Mars space experiment, has served the JPL for nearly 30 years from the Viking program in 1970s to Mars Pathfinder which descended on US National Day.
Wayne Lee, the chief engineer born in Lin County of China's Taiwan Province in charge of the landing system of the Mars explorer, is responsible for controlling the computer and receiving signals. Li, who went to the United States at the age of four, is an up-and-coming elite of the JPL.
(People's Daily January 6, 2004)