HONG KONG, Sept. 3 (Xinhua) — “Hong Kong is calling the Shenzhou-12 spaceship.” “Hello, friends from Hong Kong!” With applause and cheers resounding through the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Center on Friday, three Chinese astronauts talked with nearly 300 Hong Kong researchers, teachers and students from space via video link.
“First of all, I would like to thank all the teachers and students for their care and support for the astronauts. The distance between Heaven and Earth is far away. As a space guide, let me show you around on this space tour,” Liu Boming, who dressed in blue overalls, said with laughter that drew him closer to the Hong Kong audience.
In the space dining room, Liu pointed to a folding table besides him, on which there were mooncakes, biscuits, nuts and chocolates for astronauts to replenish their energy after work. Inside the recesses of the bulkhead are microwave ovens to heat noodles and rice.
“I didn’t expect the facilities in the space station to be that complete!” some of the students said.
Everyone’s curiosity was aroused and the audience stared at the big screen more intently.
In the sleeping area, Liu’s family photo hangs on the wall, along with a self-portrait depicting his work outside the capsule. Liu said he made the painting in space as a souvenir for the people of Hong Kong.
“Look through our porthole to see what the beautiful Earth looks like,” he said. As the camera shifted, the blue and magnificent Earth jumped into everyone’s eyes, and the audience picked up their mobile phones to record this precious picture.
In the following question session, the students grasped the valuable opportunity and raised their hands enthusiastically. “What exercise programs are available in space?” “Where does the water in the space station come from?”
The astronauts in the Tiangong space station answered questions from the youngsters and showed them how to conduct experiments, do exercise and drink water in a weightless environment in the real-time video chat.
To demonstrate how to use the space bike to exercise his upper limbs, Nie Haisheng stood upside down and rotated his hands on the pedals of the bike. Laughter and applause intertwined at the center, and everyone praised the astronauts’ dedication.
The real-time video chat has attracted students from many universities and middle schools in Hong Kong, and the dialogue with the astronauts has become a hot topic in Hong Kong recently.
“Today’s real-time video chat is a rare opportunity, reflecting the love of the country to Hong Kong youths. In a short time, China’s space science and technology has caught up with developed Western countries and reached a world-class level,” Wong Wai Lun from Yan Chai Hospital Lim Por Yen Secondary School said. “I am proud of the development of our country.”
“Thanks to those selfless scientists and it is amazing that China has been able to build a space station in such a short time. I feel very proud,” said Law Song Yan from CCC Chuen Yuen College, who greatly admires the arduous exploration and development achievements of the national space industry.
Tang Suk Lam from Shun Tak Fraternal Association Yung Yau College believed that today’s event is of special significance. “China is one of the few countries in the world that have independently mastered space technology, which makes me proud. It’s exciting to think that we’re one step closer to the space, and the universe is no longer out of reach.”
During the event, the young participants learned how astronauts live and work in the space station, and they also video chatted with multiple space experts including China’s first astronaut Yang Liwei in Beijing.
“We hope friends from Hong Kong will join us. Chinese dream, space dream, you have me!” Liu said.
The event was the latest of a series of space-related activities in Hong Kong. In the past months, renowned national space scientists have visited Hong Kong and a lunar soil sample was also on display here.
Nie, Liu and Tang Hongbo were sent into space aboard the Shenzhou-12 spaceship on June 17 and have as far completed their second-time extravehicular activities.
They will continue to carry out scientific and technological space experiments before returning to Earth in mid-September.