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Experts respond to rumors about Shenzhou-9

(People's Daily Online)

16:17, June 25, 2012

Edited and translated by People's Daily Online

The Shenzhou-9 spacecraft has aroused many people's interests on the space flight. Of the various ideas on the Shenzhou-9, some are expectations and good wishes but some are rumors and misunderstandings. Regarding the incorrect "legends," relevant experts made explanations.

Rumor: In the video showing the launching course of the Shenzhou-9, two illuminant objects once appeared for a short moment. Some netizens cried that aliens had arrived to "convoy" the Shenzhou-9!

Expert's opinion: The illuminant objects probably were optical phenomena of the atmosphere.

Yang Yuguang, a researcher with the Second Institute under the China Aerospace Science and Industry Group, believes that the illuminant objects probably were optical phenomena of the atmosphere or other artificial objects such as aircraft. He also said that if only few cameras caught these illuminant objects, it is also possible that these illuminant objects were caused by the failure of the camera equipment.

Rumor: As the first female space-flying astronaut of China, Liu Yang is attracting the public's attention, the words regard the strict standards for selecting female astronauts could also be seen in various media: "The selection is extremely strict. They must have given birth to a baby, must have no decayed tooth, scar and body odor."

Expert's opinion: "Having given birth to a baby," "having no decayed tooth and scar" and other similar things were not included in the standards for selecting female astronauts.

"Facts have proved that whether she has given birth or not has nothing to do with fulfilling the space flight mission and the astronaut's subsequent health," said Huang Weifen, vice general designer of the system for astronauts. "Of foreign female astronauts, some have given birth to a child and some have not."

The 33-year-old Liu Yang has married but has not given birth to a child. The associate director of the China Manned Space Engineering Office Yang Liwei said that, of the final six astronaut candidates including Liu, five have not given birth to a baby.

"Originally, we indeed proposed that the candidates who have given birth to a child are superior. But then, we found that this standard was unpractical, because the age of around 30 years old is the golden age for astronauts to improve their skills. If they give birth in this period, they must suspend flying for at least two or three years and it will inevitably affect their careers," Yang said, "Not giving birth in this period is a reflection of the contribution spirit of the soldier."

Regarding "having no decayed tooth and scar" and "having no body odor," the director of the Institute for selecting and training Astronauts Wu Bin said that the standards for selecting astronauts are not that strict.

"Our fundamental requirements are: First, the mission must not be affected, and second the personal appearance must not be affected. It does not mean that the astronaut must not have even a single decayed tooth and a small scar. But of course, if an astronaut has severe decayed teeth, it will be hard to handle the possible toothache in the space," said Wu.

Read the Chinese version: 专家解读神九疑问

Source: People's Daily


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