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China 2023: The Heights of Aspiration(1/1)

Source:Ecns.cn 2024-01-02

The inherent desire for heights and exploration has persisted over millennia. Two million years ago, our ancestors scaled the first 10 meters of a tree, without any tools. In the present era of swiftly evolving technology, the query arises: What heights have humans reached in their pursuit of exploration? Let's embark on a special journey, starting at initial 10 meters, to follow China's strides in 2023.

At 10 meters, the height of the Forbidden City walls, and China's first suspended monorail, the "Optics Valley Photon," which opened to the public on Sept. 26. With suspended trains, unmanned operation, and 270-degree panoramic view cabins, it offers a sci-fi experience of "traveling in the sky, with scenery flying beneath your feet."
At a maximum height of 72.2 meters, sails the first domestically built large cruise ship, the " Adora?Magic City" is preparing to set sail. It was named and delivered in Shanghai on Nov. 4. After eight years of research and development, as well as five years of design and construction, the vessel is going to make its maiden commercial operation on the first day of 2024. The cruise ship, measuring 323.6 meters in length, with a gross 135,500 tonnage, can accommodate up to 5,246 passengers and has a total of 2,125 guest rooms.
Crossing the seas, at 163 meters high, stands the main tower of the Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macao Bridge. On April 19, the main part of the bridge passed completion review, making it the longest bridge-and-tunnel sea crossing in the world. The 55-km bridge links Hong Kong Special Administrative Region, the city of Zhuhai in southern Guangdong Province and Macao Special Administrative Region. On Dec. 15, group tours across the bridge started trial operation.
Venturing through mountains and rivers, at an elevation of 4,410 meters, Chinese explorers seek to communicate with the cosmos. On May 10, the Large High-Altitude Air Shower Observatory (LHAASO)in Daocheng City, Sichuan Province, passed the national acceptance procedures and commenced operations, ushering in a new era of cosmic ray exploration led by China. Cosmic rays are charged particles that travel through space and rain down on Earth constantly. LHAASO, covering an area of 1.36 square kilometers, captures billions of high-energy cosmic ray events daily.
At 8,848.86 meters, the pinnacle of the world, the height of Mount Qomolangma, represents the ultimate challenge in human exploration. On May 23, 13 members of the Chinese expedition team reached the summit, as they look to carry out scientific research, including upgrading of weather station, collecting of snow and ice samples, and drilling ice core.
On May 25, 1960, a Chinese mountaineering team reached the summit of Mt. Qomolangma from the north ridge, once considered insurmountable, for the first time in human history. With updated equipment and technology, Chinese climbers and researchers have reached Mt. Qomolangma to ascend the world's highest peak.
Beyond Qomolangma, at 12,100 meters, lies the maximum flight altitude of China's self-developed large passenger aircraft C919. On May 28, a C919 aircraft completed its first commercial flight from Shanghai to Beijing, marking its official entry into the civil aviation market. Onboard the large aircraft, Chinese passengers experienced a sense of "national colors dyeing the mountains and rivers, with beauty everywhere their eyes could see."
Gazing into the sky, human exploration of space knows no bounds. At a height of 400 kilometers, this is the operational altitude of the Tiangong Space Station.
On Oct. 29, on the momentous occasion of the 20th anniversary of China's first manned spaceflight of the Shenzhou-5, China Space Station, also known as Tiangong, which means "heavenly palace", witnessed another significant moment in China's manned space history, as six taikonauts from two Shenzhou spaceflight mission crews conducted their space reunion. In the past 20 years, China has sent 20 taikonauts into space.
Mars and Earth are closest at around 55 million kilometers and farthest at over 400 million kilometers. Communication with a Mars rover ranges from about 3 to 22 minutes.
On April 24, the China National Space Administration and the Chinese Academy of Sciences jointly released the first global panoramic images of Mars and also disclosed that 22 sites on Mars have been given Chinese names, such as Mohe and Zhouzhuang. In this way, China's presence is permanently engraved on Mars' surface.
This represents China's spirit of exploration: taking unceasing steps towards the vast expanse of the universe.

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