Qi Faren, first chief designer of China's Shenzhou spaceship, delivers a speech at a lecture at the Hong Kong Polytechnic University on June 23, 2021. (EDMOND TANG / CHINA DAILY)
China's top aerospace scientists said on Wednesday that more young people and institutions in the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region are welcome to join in exploring the mysteries of space.
They said China needs talent from all places, including Hong Kong, and such collaboration will offer a broader stage for them to give play to their strengths.
The invitation was made by Qi Faren, first chief designer of China's Shenzhou spacecraft, and Hu Hao, chief designer of China's phase-three lunar exploration program, during separate lectures at Hong Kong Polytechnic University and the University of Hong Kong, respectively.
Over the past two decades, the Hong Kong Polytechnic University had been involved in many space missions, including the exploration of the moon and Mars
The lectures were the first two public events of an exchange visit made by a high-level national aerospace delegation, including Qi and Hu, from Tuesday to Saturday in Hong Kong.
When taking a question from the audience at PolyU about opportunities in the nation's space projects for young people in Hong Kong, Qi, 88, an aerospace scholar, said young students and researchers from Hong Kong are welcome to participate in national projects.
He added that young people in Hong Kong can propose scientific experiments to be carried out aboard China's space station once it is completed.
During the lecture at the University of Hong Kong, which was attended by about 100 students and researchers, Hu said Hong Kong universities were welcome to join in researching samples collected from the moon's surface, adding that he is hopeful the institutions can help the nation cultivate more aerospace talent.
The delegation of scientists brought along lunar soil collected during China's fifth lunar exploration mission, in late 2020. The soil will be displayed at the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre from Sunday until early July. Hong Kong scientists also participated in that mission.
Hu expressed appreciation for PolyU's participation in national space missions, especially the work of Yung Kai-leung, a professor and associate head of PolyU's Department of Industrial and Systems Engineering. Despite the difficulties encountered in the Chang'e 5 lunar probe project, Yung persevered and showed strong responsibility during the task, Hu said.
Over the past two decades, the university had been involved in many space missions, including the exploration of the moon and Mars.
After listening to Hu's lecture, Quentin Parker, director of HKU's Laboratory for Space Research, said China's achievements in space, including being the first to land on the far side of the moon, are exciting and have drawn much public interest in recent years.
He added that technology developed in recent years has created abundant opportunities in China in space exploration. He said he hopes HKU will be become even more involved in the nation's space projects.
Li Zhaojin, a 24-year-old PhD student and researcher at PolyU who has participated in China's Mars exploration efforts along with about 20 other team members, said the lecture at PolyU recognized the school's efforts in space exploration.
During the lecture, Qi shed light on the difficulties that scientists encounter during experiments and the need for perseverance, and Li said his words renewed her enthusiasm to pursue aerospace research.
"As a researcher, it is not an easy path," Li said. "But I felt honored and satisfied to contribute what I have learned to the country's development."
Chen Shuman contributed to this story.
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