As reported by That’s PRD, Wechat has made a subtle change to its home page.
The previous image is NASA’s Blue Marble, taken by the crew of Apollo 17 from a distance of 29,000 kilometres from Earth.
The second image is taken from China’s own Feng Yun 4A satellite series and shows a clearer image of China and South East Asia.
The change is, according to Sina, supposed to reflect the development of mankind since the dawn of man.
While not stated one could suggest that the change is more appropriately a celebration of China’s own development since 1972.
Before reading the article I was not aware of the Feng Yun 4A series, so I decided to take a look and see for myself what exactly these satellites mean for the present and the future.
The first satellite ever launched was the famous Sputnik 1. Sputnik’s was one of the early strikes landed in a war for Space waged between Russia and America. While Russia exceeded America in the satellite race, America eventually regained ground with the moon-landings.
Thereafter 40 different countries launched their own satellites into the Earth’s orbit, largely as a means to monitor weather conditions, although satellite uses are many and varied.
China, although currently part of a troika of powerful nations, was the fifth country to launch its first satellite, in 1970, after Russia, America, France and Japan. China was shortly followed by the UK, who launched their first satellite just over a year later, while India comes in a distant seventh with their first launch in 1980.
While China acted independently in order to launch their own national satellites, not every country went that route. Canada, Italy and Australia, to name just three, were helped by America.
China’s first satellite was named Dong Fang Hong 1. The aim of this satellite was basically to verify if the launch would work. It did, and China began to develop a three satellite plan, with big plans for the country’s future endeavours in Space.
In ensuing years more and more satellites were launched into Space, but development was delayed because of political turmoil in the country. Initially an aim of launching the first manned expedition into space was set for 1973, however this program was eventually scrapped.
In 1993 the modern iteration of China’s space industry, China Aerospace Industry Corporation was begun.
Finally in 2003, after years of planning, China became the third country to send a manned shuttle into space, the Shenzhou 5.
China’s current space goals revolve around sending out a manned space station and exploring Mars and the Moon.
Finally, Fengyun, to be succinct, are a series of weather satellites launched by China since 1988. Given the commonly held belief that China’s world views are shallow and pertain more to the pursuit of power than the pursuit of knowledge, the Chinese devotion to science and exploration remains a great example for the rest of the world.
China, besides being fully behind the idea and the need to cut back on carbon emissions and global warming, currently rivals any country in the world in terms of technology and development.