Astronauts share feelings with HK students

Updated: 2012-08-13 07:06

(China Daily)

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Space technology fever heated up on Sunday as the Shenzhou IX astronauts disclosed more details of June's manned space docking to a group of university students.

Astronauts share feelings with HK students

Tiangong-1/Shenzhou IX space mission delegation share their feelings with some 500 students from eight Hong Kong universities on Sunday. [Photo/Xinhua]

Some 500 students from different colleges in the city filled an auditorium at the Chinese University of Hong Kong on Sunday afternoon for a face-to-face meeting with the three astronauts, Jing Haipeng, Liu Wang and Liu Yang.

The astronauts answered questions about complicated rendezvous, docking technologies and space life. In a surprise twist, students were also tested by the astronauts.

Veteran astronaut Jing Haipeng suddenly asked: "How did we bring fruit to space?"

A young man tried to answer but failed. Then Jing explained that all the fruit that is brought is sliced into pieces and dried using a special technique.

Zhou Jianping, chief designer of the China Manned Space Engineering Office, also told the students about the three phases of China's manned space program. He said that one more space laboratory, a manned spacecraft and cargo spacecraft will be launched. By 2020, China's first near-earth manned space station will be established and become operational.

Responding to a question raised by a student from the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology about when China will send astronauts to the moon and maybe even Mars, Zhou answered that he believes it "won't take too long" to realize the Chinese people's old dream of flying to the moon. He pointed out that reaching Mars still requires a series of technological breakthroughs.

Earlier, the three astronauts started the third day of their Hong Kong trip at the Peak in the morning to overlook the city's iconic harbor view. Subsequently, they attended the opening ceremony of an exhibition on China's first manned space docking mission at the Hong Kong Science Museum.

The 15-day exhibition presents a number of items to give visitors a better picture of the manned rendezvous and docking mission between Tiangong-1 space station and Shenzhou IX spacecraft that was successfully completed in June.

The exhibits include the re-entry capsule of Shenzhou IX, which was used by the three astronauts to return to earth.

At the exhibition, visitors can get a real look at how the three astronauts lived. A four-minute video recorded the trio eating and drinking, conducting medical experiments, as well as exercising with a riding cycle ergometer and pulley machine.

A total of 100 photos will also be exhibited as well as the traditional Chinese knot made by Liu Yang and her spacesuit.

The trio arrived in Hong Kong on Friday for a four-day goodwill tour. On Saturday, they talked about their years of hard astronaut training experiences with 1,400 local primary and secondary students. The astronauts also revealed their versatility at a welcome gala show held by the Hong Kong government on Saturday afternoon.