Subscribe free to our newsletters via your
. 24/7 Space News .

Shenzhou mission sparks 'science fever'
by Wang Xiaodong (China Daily)
Beijing, China (China Daily) Jul 09, 2012

Workers remove crop seeds, microorganisms and other articles from the return capsule of the Shenzhou IX spacecraft on Sunday in Beijing. China Manned Space Agency and China Aerospace Science and Technology Corporation organized a ceremony to open the hatch of the capsule and take out the articles that traveled with the spacecraft during the 13-day mission to space. Su Dong / For China Daily.

The launch and safe return of the Shenzhou IX spacecraft has ignited an outbreak of "popular science fever" in China, which provides an excellent opportunity to boost science awareness, according to experts. "After every major astronomical event, we see a rapid rise in the number of visitors, and this spacecraft launch is no exception," said Zhang Yang, director of popular science at Purple Mountain Observatory, which is affiliated to the Chinese Academy of Sciences.

The attention can also be seen in rising numbers of followers of its account on Sina Weibo, the popular Chinese micro-blogging website, he said.

"Before the launch of the spacecraft in mid-June, the popular science department had about 12,000 fans. Now the number is past 14,000." Bookstores in some cities are reporting increased orders of popular science books, according to media reports.

To meet the growing demand for aerospace knowledge, Beijing-based China Space Museum holds a month-long exhibition in Hong Kong, starting June 28, Xinhua News Agency reported. Items on display will include authentic products used in the launch, including the national flag that traveled on the spacecraft, rocket models and items used by the astronauts in space, such as canned food, ice cream, sleeping bags and toilets.

"The launch of Shenzhou IX has provided an excellent opportunity to popularize scientific knowledge and enhance their attitude toward science," said Ge Ting, a researcher in popular sciences with the China Association for Science and Technology.

Tens of millions of people across China are believed to have watched the journey on TV, from launch to return, which proves the growing interest in science and technology, he said.

"However, people in general still lack enough scientific knowledge and awareness, and more effort is needed to address the problem," he added.

A national survey last year showed only 3.27 percent of residents on the mainland had basic scientific awareness and knowledge, a long way behind major developed countries such as Japan and Canada.

Wu Danhong, an associate professor at China University of Political Science and Law, warned a lack of basic scientific knowledge and judgment can lead to needless levels of panic in times of emergency.

One example, he said, was the first few days after the nuclear crisis in Japan in March 2011, when people in many Chinese cities hoarded salt due to rumors that the leakage had polluted the seas and made the salt produced from the seawater inedible. Many people were also convinced that iodized salt can protect against radiation poisoning.

"Great events provide us with excellent opportunities to spread scientific knowledge," Ge said, "but we must find new ways of teaching."

He suggested the media get more involved in finding new and exciting ways of reporting scientific stories and facts.

For example, he said, during the live TV broadcast of the return of Shenzhou IX, reporters could have added some explanation on how the astronauts could stay in the spacecraft safely without being burned by high temperatures caused by intense friction between the spacecraft and the air.


Related Links
Purple Mountain Observatory
The Chinese Space Program - News, Policy and Technology
China News from

Comment on this article via your Facebook, Yahoo, AOL, Hotmail login.

Share this article via these popular social media networks DiggDigg RedditReddit GoogleGoogle

Interview: China's manned space mission marks "great first step": U.S. expert
Houston (XNA) Jul 02, 2012
The Shenzhou-9 manned space mission is a "great first step" for the future development of China's space program and also exciting news for people all around the world, a U.S. expert has said. In a recent exclusive interview with Xinhua, Carolyn T. Sumners, vice president of the Astronomy at Houston Museum of Natural Sciences, said it is logical for a country's space program "to go from the ... read more

ESA to catch laser beam from Moon mission

Researchers Estimate Ice Content of Crater at Moon's South Pole

Researchers find evidence of ice content at the moon's south pole

Nanoparticles found in moon glass bubbles explain weird lunar soil behaviour

NASA Mars images 'next best thing to being there'

Life's molecules could lie within reach of Mars Curiosity rover

Final Six-Member Crew Selected for Mars Food Mission

Opportunity Celebratres 3,000 Martian Days of Operation on the Surface of Mars!

ESA astronaut Samantha Cristoforetti set for ISS in 2014

Orion's First Test Flight Offers SLS a First Look at Hardware Operation, Integration

The Road to Space

NASA Unveils Orion During Ceremony

Shenzhou mission sparks 'science fever'

China Beats Russia on Space Launches

China open to cooperation

China set to launch bigger space program

ESA astronaut Andre Kuipers returns to Earth

First Annual ISS Research and Development Conference in Review

Three astronauts land on Earth from ISS in Russian capsule

ISS crew rests before return to Earth

Ariane 5 ECA orbits EchoStar XVII and MSG-3

ATK Unveils Unique Liberty Capability

Avanti Announces Launch Date for HYLAS 2 Satellite

Three Pratt and Whitney Rocketdyne RS-68A Engines Power Delta IV Heavy Upgrade Vehicle on Inaugural Flight

Study in Nature sheds new light on planet formation

New Instrument Sifts Through Starlight to Reveal New Worlds

Planet-Forming Disk Turns Off Lights, Locks Doors

New Planet-weighing Technique Found

Microsoft sets October release for Windows 8

Recognizing Telstar and the Birth of Global Communications

US court lifts Samsung phone ban, keeps tablet block

Lockheed Martin Skunk Works Receives DARPA ALASA Contract Award

The content herein, unless otherwise known to be public domain, are Copyright 1995-2014 - Space Media Network. AFP, UPI and IANS news wire stories are copyright Agence France-Presse, United Press International and Indo-Asia News Service. ESA Portal Reports are copyright European Space Agency. All NASA sourced material is public domain. Additional copyrights may apply in whole or part to other bona fide parties. Advertising does not imply endorsement,agreement or approval of any opinions, statements or information provided by Space Media Network on any Web page published or hosted by Space Media Network. Privacy Statement