Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech

A NASA “Send Your Name to Mars” website has stirred up Chinese officials.

The State Council Taiwan Affairs Office has lashed out at NASA for listing Taiwan as an independent country on a space agency website, “which is in blatant violation of international law,” reports China Central Television (CCTV).

According to Zhu Fenglian, spokeswoman, State Council Taiwan Affairs Office:

“Taiwan is an inalienable part of the Chinese territory. The National Aeronautics and Space Administration’s move violates the one-China principle and the provisions of the three China-U.S. joint communiqués, as well as the consensus of the international community, and hurts feelings of the Chinese people,” Zhu stated.

Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech

“We hope that the NASA, as an agency of the U.S. federal government, will respect China’s sovereignty and territorial integrity, abide by the one-China principle and the three China-U.S. joint communiqués, and correct its mistake as soon as possible. We also believe that Chinese people at home and abroad will have a correct understanding of this matter,” Zhu said at a press conference in Beijing.

Explore as one

NASA’s “Send Your Name to Mars” campaign invited people around the globe to submit their names to ride along on the rover – with a grand total of 10,932,295 names submitted.

Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech

The result of the NASA campaign was installed on the Perseverance Mars rover on March 16, 2020. Three fingernail-sized chips affixed to the upper-left corner of the placard feature the names of those individuals that participated.

Also on the plate: a laser-etched graphic depicting Earth and Mars connected by the rays of the Sun that gives light to both.

Written in Morse code in the Sun’s rays is a hidden message: “Explore As One.”

NASA response

Asking NASA to respond, Inside Outer Space received this message from Sean Potter, Media Relations Specialist in the NASA Headquarters’ Office of Communications:

“The appropriate field on the submission form has been updated to say ‘Location’ with the drop-down menu options updated to say ‘Country/Region/Territory’ to better reflect the diversity of geographic location types listed.”

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