Astronauts begin new year with student talk
Three Chinese astronauts at Tiangong space station held a video chat with students in Beijing, Hong Kong and Macau on Saturday, the first day of 2022.
The live space-Earth talk was attended by around 500 young students at the three venues. The astronauts talked about their space dreams and aspirations.
Astronaut Zhai Zhigang, commander of the Shenzhou-13 mission, shared his experience, and encouraged the students to overcome difficulties and dangers.
"No matter how far we fly, the motherland is forever our strongest supporter. Love for the country always inspires us in space flights," Zhai said.
Astronaut Wang Yaping expressed hope that the live class from Tiangong could guide more young people to look up at the stars and plant the seeds of "loving science, pursuing dreams and exploring the unknown" in their hearts.
Wang earned the title of China's first space teacher after delivering a televised science lecture during the Shenzhou-10 space mission in June 2013. While in the Shenzhou-13 mission, she and the other two crew members also gave a lecture in Tiangong last month.
As China's national space laboratory, the space station Tiangong is expected to play a unique role in encouraging the public to explore space and carry forward the scientific spirit.
"Despite being weightless in space, we feel firmly grounded at heart," said astronaut Ye Guangfu, a newcomer to space.
Tan Zuwei, student of the School of Aerospace Engineering of Tsinghua University, felt deeply impressed by the astronauts' passion for their dreams and the space cause. He said he was inspired by their spirit and would contribute to the great rejuvenation of the Chinese nation.
Zhou Ting, a University of Hong Kong medical student, felt lucky to pose her question to the astronauts. "As a would-be doctor, I have been confronted with harsh studies and work, and I sometimes thought of giving up. But the astronauts gave me the courage to carry on."
The activity, co-hosted by the Hong Kong government, the Macau government, the Liaison Office of the Central People's Government in Hong Kong, the Liaison Office of the Central People's Government in Macau, the China Manned Space Agency and China Media Group, was broadcast live.
The three astronauts went into space onboard the Shenzhou-13 spaceship and entered the space station on October 16, embarking on the country's longest crewed mission for space station construction.
According to plan, China will complete construction of the space station by 2022.