China tests Mars lander in international cooperation push

A lander is lifted during a test of hovering, obstacle avoidance and deceleration capabilities at a facility in Huailai in China's Hebei province, Thursday, Nov. 14, 2019. (File/AFP)
Updated 14 November 2019

China tests Mars lander in international cooperation push

  • China plans to launch a lander and rover to Mars next year to explore parts of the planet in detail
  • China’s burgeoning space program achieved a lunar milestone earlier this year by landing a probe on the mysterious far side of the moon

HUAILAI, China: China invited international observers to a Thursday test of its Mars lander as it pushes for inclusion in more global space projects.

The demonstration of hovering, obstacle avoidance and deceleration capabilities was conducted at a site outside Beijing simulating conditions on the Red Planet, where the pull of gravity is about one-third that of Earth.

China plans to launch a lander and rover to Mars next year to explore parts of the planet in detail.

China’s burgeoning space program achieved a lunar milestone earlier this year by landing a probe on the mysterious far side of the moon.

It has developed rapidly, especially since it conducted its first crewed mission in 2003 and has sought cooperation with space agencies from Europe and elsewhere.

The US, however, has banned most space cooperation with China out of national security concerns, keeping China from participating in the International Space Station.

Despite that, China’s ambitions continue to grow as it seeks to rival the US, Russia and Europe in space and cement its position as a regional and global power.

Guests at Thursday’s event came from 19 countries and included the ambassadors of Brazil, France and Italy.

“This event is the first public appearance of China’s Mars exploration mission, also an important measure for China to pragmatically carry out space international exchanges and cooperation,” the China National Space Administration said in a news release.


France tells Turkey it won’t give in to ‘intimidation attempts’

Updated 23 min 31 sec ago

France tells Turkey it won’t give in to ‘intimidation attempts’

  • Government spokesman says France 'will never renounce its principles and values'
  • Emmanuel Macron has vowed to crack down on extremism after the killing and beheading of a school teacher

PARIS: France will continue its fight against Islamic extremism despite criticism from Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, and will not give in to “destabilization and intimidation attempts,” government spokesman Gabriel Attal said Wednesday.
France “will never renounce its principles and values,” Attal said after a cabinet meeting, underscoring “a strong European unity” behind its stance against Islamic violence after the beheading of a French teacher on October 16.
The history teacher, Samuel Paty, was killed while walking home from his school in a Paris suburb by an 18-year-old after a social media campaign criticized him for showing students cartoons of the Prophet Muhammad during a lesson on free speech.
His killing prompted an outpouring of anger in France, which has faced a wave of jihadist attacks since the January 2015 massacre of 12 people at the offices of the satirical weekly Charlie Hebdo.
The paper, which had drawn the ire of Muslims worldwide after publishing cartoons mocking the Prophet Muhammad, republished the images last month to mark the opening of a trial for suspected accomplices in the Charlie Hebdo attack.
French President Emmanuel Macron mounted a staunch defense of France’s secular tradition after Paty’s killing, and vowed to crack down on Islamic radicalism, in particular by closing mosques suspected of fomenting extremist ideas.
That prompted Erdogan to accuse Macron of unfairly targeting France’s Muslim community, and fueled the latest diplomatic spat between the two NATO allies in recent months.
Charlie Hebdo further inflamed Turkish critics Wednesday after it ran a front-page cartoon of Erdogan that portrayed him drinking a beer in his underwear, while lifting the skirt of a woman wearing a hijab to reveal her naked bottom.
“Ooh, the prophet!” the character says in a speech bubble, while the title proclaims “Erdogan: in private, he’s very funny.”