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Dream of astronautics rooted in kids' hearts

By Zhang Zhouxiang | China Daily | Updated: 2022-09-12 10:12
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Unique lesson

On Dec 9, 2021, astronauts Zhai Zhigang, Wang Yaping and Ye Guangfu held their first open class aboard the Tianhe core module of the Chinese space station for pupils.

In the 50-minute online class, the three astronauts explained daily life in space, how to walk in a microgravity environment and showed the children how to recycle water, oxygen and carbon dioxide in their environment. Applause broke out among the 1,420-strong audience at the CSTM when one of the three astronauts poured out water, which formed into a perfect ball. Applause broke out again when they put an effervescent tablet into the water, which fizzed into bubbles. But the bubbles did not burst and instead stayed intact.

The open science lesson was broadcast live to the nation. On domestic video-sharing website alone, the open course was watched at least 6 million times, with more views on other platforms and TV channels.

For Shi Hao, a space specialist at China Aerospace Science and Technology Corporation, the growing desire of school pupils to pursue knowledge about space reflects the growing potential of China in exploring the universe in the future.

"I still remember how impressed I was by the launch of Shenzhou VI in September 2005, which was carried by a Long March 2F rocket into space. I also attended the speech of the crew. From then on, I have carved out the dream of pursuing my career in astronautics from the bottom of my heart," Shi said. "For many people like me, this is not only a job, but a lifelong addiction and dedication. It is of uttermost importance to let Chinese youths touch astronautics during their childhood so as to sustain the building of talents."

He was echoed by Zhou, who places high hopes on the future of China's space industry. "We have a population of 1.4 billion, of which more than 200 million are pupils at school. By inspiring their enthusiasm, China will get an abundant supply of talents for the national space research team."

"Chinese people will step further in the universe and the hope lies in our children," he added.

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