Space science could be a major breakthrough for frontier scientific studies, even sparking a new round of scientific revolutions according to the deputy.


In order to significantly increase China’s influence in the exploration and use of space, Wang Chi, a deputy to the National People’s Congress and a research fellow at the Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS), said during the current two sessions that China should broaden its friend circle in space science and relevant cooperation while taking the lead in major international space science projects.

“Initiating and leading international scientific programmes will not only promote the high-quality development of China’s research but will also play a key role in solving common human development problems and be effective in maintaining China’s scientific and technological security,” Wang said, according to China Science Daily.

According to the deputy, space science could be a major breakthrough for frontier scientific studies, even sparking a new round of scientific revolutions. “Under the current circumstances at home and abroad, there is an urgent need for a breakthrough in the field of space science, which necessitates closer collaboration and more convenient cooperation approaches,” he said.

Wang proposed that China expand its cooperation with the European Space Agency (ESA) and other space organizations. The two sides should maintain high-quality and frequent dialogues through a variety of communication mechanisms.

Wang also suggested that departments in charge of international collaboration optimise and simplify procedures in order to improve communication channels and ease the exchange of funds, equipment, and personnel.

The Solar Wind Magnetosphere Ionosphere Link Explorer, or SMILE, is a joint space science mission being developed by China and the European Space Agency. Its purpose is to gain a better understanding of the Sun-Earth connection by observing the dynamic interaction between the solar wind and the Earth’s magnetosphere.

The mission is expected to be launched in April 2025, following a number of delays due to “technical difficulties and programmatic evolutions, among which a significant impact was due to COVID,” according to David Agnolon, SMILE project manager, as SpaceNews reported. It was originally scheduled to debut in 2021.

ESA Director General Josef Aschbacher revealed in February that the agency will not send astronauts to China’s Tiangong space station, stating that “for the time being, we have neither the budgetary nor the political… green light or intention to engage in a second space station; that is, participating on the Chinese space station,” according to Space News.

Song Zhongping, a space observer and TV commentator, told the media on Friday that China and the ESA have great potential in a variety of fields, including space science and deep-space collaboration on the Moon and Mars. However, due to ideological and value differences, as well as strong US pressure, they have put their collaboration with China on hold.

“From joint research and development of the lunar surface to joint creation of the space station, the prospects are very broad, but the premise is to abandon the differences in politics, and to strengthen mutual trust in science and technology,” Song said.