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Chinese, US space teachers exchange correspondence


19:29, June 20, 2013

Image scanned on June 20, 2013 shows the letter (L) 62-year-old Barbara Morgan, the first astronaut teacher and retired NASA astronaut, wrote to 33-year-old Chinese astronaut Wang Yaping on June 13 and Wang Yaping's letter (R) in reply after the space lecture delivered on June 20, 2013 by Chinese astronauts aboard China's space module Tiangong-1. (Xinhua)

BEIJING, June 20 (Xinhua) -- After wrapping up her first lecture in space on Thursday, Chinese astronaut Wang Yaping replied to a letter from former U.S. astronaut Barbara Morgan.

In an email sent from China's orbiting space module Tiangong-1, Wang expressed her gratitude for a letter that Morgan had written to her.

"My colleagues and I were very glad to receive your letter so far away from Earth. Thank you for your regards," Wang wrote.

She said the Chinese astronauts very much "admire and respect" Morgan for her achievements in both manned space programs and education.

Morgan, born in 1951, conducted her first teaching lesson in space in 2007 from the International Space Station. Via a video feed, she showed students how to exercise and drink water in space.

"Today, I shared the wonder of the universe with millions of Chinese students," wrote Wang. "I hope teachers and students in the other parts of the world will also like my lecture."

Through a Xinhua correspondent in Los Angeles, Morgan passed a letter to Wang on June 13.

"I have written a letter that I hope the Chinese news media will share with astronaut Yaping and all the people of China," Morgan wrote in an email to Xinhua. "I share your sense of pride and joy!"

For Morgan, distance cannot separate Americans and Chinese, and there are no apparent boundaries in teaching. "All over the world, we are really very excited," Morgan wrote.

"You will be very busy up there, but please remember to take time to look out the window. China and all of this world are beautiful," she wrote in the letter.

In her email, Wang shared what it feels like when she looks out of the window of the Tiangong-1.

"Human beings place high hopes on the universe, and we need knowledge to get there," she wrote. "We would like to work with you to open a door to the universe for children around the world."

Wang hosted a lecture for about 330 primary and middle school students in Beijing on Thursday morning. While those students watched a direct video feed, more than 60 million students and teachers in about 80,000 middle schools across China watched a live broadcast from the classroom with the live feed.

She demonstrated motion in a microgravity environment, explained how zero gravity magnifies the surface tension of water and helped students understand the concepts of weight and mass and Newton's laws of motion.

The content of Wang Yaping's letter in reply is as follows: Dear Ms Barbara Morgan: My colleagues and I are delighted to receive your letter so far from Earth. Thank you for your care and good wishes for us. We also want to extend to you our admiration and respect for what you have done for manned space programs and for education as well. Today, we successfully delivered a lecture to millions of Chinese students, sharing with them the majesty and beauty of outer space, and the joy of learning new things. I hope you and all of the teachers and students elsewhere on Earth enjoyed the lecture. During our ongoing flight, I have frequently gazed upon our beautiful home Earth through the window of our space module. Space is where mankind places its most fantastic dreams while knowledge is the ladder to a better understanding of what exists beyond our Earth. We would like to join the efforts, as you have done, to bring science-loving youth around the world closer to their dreams of exploring the universe. Wang Yaping Chinese astronaut From Tiangong-1 June 20, 2013.

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