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A science class from above Earth

By Xin Dingding and Fu Jing (China Daily)

08:53, June 21, 2013

Ethnic Miao students from a middle school in Kunming, Yunnan province, watch astronaut Wang Yaping’s lesson from the space. FENG YONGBIN / CHINA DAILY

Gravity-free lesson helps young students float fresh ideas

Astronaut Wang Yaping wowed millions of students on Thursday when she held China's first science lesson from space.

Wearing a blue spacesuit and appearing via video link, China's second woman in space demonstrated physics only possible in low gravity.

It was the second video class delivered from an orbit more than 300 kilometers above the Earth's surface, with US astronaut Barbara Morgan's 25-minute class being the first in 2007.

"We hope the class will trigger young people's interest in space and spur their spirit of exploration," said Yu Changxue, a senior official with the Ministry of Education.

The class, with one part held in a Beijing school with 335 student representatives from 16 schools and the other held in the orbiting Tiangong-1 space module, started with a short video recorded by the three astronauts that introduced how they sleep in a standing position in blue sleeping bags, how they eat and drink from sealed bags, and how to somersault in space.

Commander Nie Haisheng made a show of crossing his legs in the air in a meditation posture — which only a martial arts master can do in the movies, but is impossible for people on Earth.

Wang smiled as she pushed Nie into the wall of the module with a gentle nudge of her hand, and went on to gulp down a floating drop of water.

"Thanks to the weightless condition, we're all masters," she joked.

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Email|Print|Comments(Editor:MaXi、Liang Jun)

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