Young sci-fi fans get the alien look at local museum

Young local science-fiction fans gathered at the Shanghai Science and Technology Museum to exchange ideas about aliens with top science-fiction writers, astronomers and scientists.
Young sci-fi fans get the alien look at local museum
Li Qian / SHINE

A speaker shares his ideas about science fiction and aliens in front of an audience of young local sci-fi enthusiasts at the Shanghai Science and Technology Museum.

Do aliens really exist? What do they look like? Do they wear clothes and eat food, just like us? Experts, scientists and writers have tried to explore the realities of the universe for thousands of years, but those questions have still not been answered. So, do we just let our imagination fly and create futuristic fantasies in science fiction?

These and other questions were paramount when young local science-fiction fans gathered at the Shanghai Science and Technology Museum in the Pudong New Area to exchange ideas about aliens with renowned science-fiction writers, astronomers and scientists.

Paleontologist He Xin believes that it’s necessary to understand our planet first, and there should be a complete ecosystem in science fiction.

“Science fiction has to be created based on reality. On the Earth, the majority of lives are actually unicellular organisms, and it could be the same somewhere in the universe,” he said. “Aliens may not be some weird big things or human-like lives. They may be just unicellular organisms, just like the early lives on the Earth.”

Jiang Bo, who has been honored with China’s top prize for science fiction, the Milky Way Award, a whopping six times, shared his unique opinions about aliens.

It’s widely believed that Earth is about 4.5 billion years old, and life began as early as about 3.7 billion years ago. However, human history is just about 10,000 years old. So, it’s quite a short period.

“On other planets, aliens may be just like human beings whose history is also just like an instant compared with the universe,” he noted, implying that human beings may just miss the chance to meet aliens at the right time.

Jiang added: “Also, it may cost hundreds and thousands of years or even longer to send and receive messages back from other planets. No one knows what happens over the period.”

Zhang Bo, dubbed as China’s meteorite hunter, has traveled across the world to collect meteorites. He shared his understanding of the relation between legends and science fiction with the science-fiction fans.

Shi Wei, deputy secretary of the Shanghai Astronomical Association, inspired children to think about who could be aliens while Gu Bei, translator of two science-fiction masterpieces “Foundation and Empire” and “Dune,” imagined a future filled with artificial intelligence.

According to the museum, the event is designed to promote science among children and inspire them to be devoted to the study of the universe and create great science-fiction novels.

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