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Shenzhou-13 returning to Earth: Sowing the seeds of space dreams

By David Bullock
Parabolic Arc
April 21, 2022
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BEIJING ( PR) — A news report by on a “space-Earth talk” organized by the Chinese embassy in the United States:

Shenzhou-13 returning to Earth: Sowing the seeds of space dreams
Shenzhou-13 returning to Earth: Sowing the seeds of space dreams

After six months in orbit, China’s Shenzhou-13 astronauts recently finished their work and safely returned to Earth. Just a few days before their return, the three Chinese astronauts did a small deed: having a “space-Earth talk” from China’s Tiangong space station with American kids.

This “Tiangong Q&A” session was organized by the Chinese embassy in the United States, and attracted hundreds of elementary and middle school students in the U.S. The three astronauts Zhai Zhigang, Wang Yaping and Ye Guangfu recorded videos to answer all kinds of novel and interesting questions from these students. For example, where does water come from in the space station? Have they ever thought about putting archaebacteria on the moon or Mars to see if it will actually form life? How often do they need to conduct EVAs? And, outside of work, what do they do for fun? 

The three Chinese astronauts patiently delivered detailed explanations, and conducted space experiments in response to their questions, so that the youngsters could better understand space in a more vivid way. In Washington, elementary and middle school students holding a board reading “Welcome Home” recorded a video for the Chinese astronauts.

In fact, during the past 180 days of flight, the Shenzhou-13 mission unlocked many new achievements. The astronauts performed EVAs twice, spent the Chinese Lunar New Year in their “space home,” conducted a host of scientific experiments and research, and delivered two lectures. Among these, this “Tiangong Q&A” session is especially notable, because in the context of years of restrained space cooperation between China and the U.S. and with the “space race” rhetoric, this “people-to-people exchange” is a rather amicable and meaningful activity. It was designed to engage the youth and inspire people to work together in human space exploration.

Many of you may have noticed that China has launched frequent manned spaceflight projects over the past two years. Currently, there are plans for six missions, and two batches of astronauts will visit China’s space station. Meanwhile, 16 countries have passed the application to join China’s space station. Nine projects from 17 countries have also been selected as the first batch of scientific experiment projects on China’s space station. In addition, China has been providing cooperation opportunities for developing countries to facilitate their independent innovation and participate in projects on the space station. Over the past 20 years, China has also held similar exchange activities on the subject of space with young people in Thailand and Namibia.

The international community considers China a confident aerospace power. In a way, the confidence of China’s aerospace sector, underpinned by its technological prowess, also echoes with the country’s openness and sense of responsibility. As with all the exchanges and cooperation in the pipeline, the “space-Earth talk” is not an endpoint. Instead, it has sowed the seeds of a dream that belongs to the future and is cherished by all humanity.

China Mosaic

Shenzhou-13 returning to Earth: Sowing the seeds of space dreams

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