Leading Chinese aerospace scientists speak on BeiDou and Chang'e programmes at PolyU public lectures
24 Jun 2021
Two distinguished astronautical scientists overseeing China’s BeiDou navigation satellite system and the Chang’e-4 mission to the moon’s far side spoke today at the public lectures of The Hong Kong Polytechnic University (PolyU) – part of their visiting programme in Hong Kong to reach out to young people and inspire them to pursue scientific exploration.
ZHANG He, executive director of the Chang’e-4 lunar probe project, talked about the significance of the mission – in which PolyU was involved – in terms of understanding the mysterious “dark side” of the moon and how it laid the foundation for future exploration of the lunar south pole.
“Before we landed on the far side of the moon, there were online rumours about an alien base being located there. But since Chang’e-4’s landing until now, we have found nothing except regolith, rocks and impact craters. It is a desolate place and definitely has no alien base there,” Zhang told the audience at the Jockey Club Auditorium and viewers tuned into the live streaming on social media.
On the moon soil samples collected last year via PolyU’s “Surface Sampling and Packing System” in the subsequent Chang’e-5 mission, Zhang said China is committed to contributing to international space exploration, and has already opened loan applications for the samples to researchers around the world.
Zhang encouraged young people to contribute to the Nation’s astronautical endeavours in various roles, no matter what disciplines they studied. “Even if you are an arts student, you can join our administrative operations and contribute to our astronautical endeavours,” she said.
Meanwhile, XIE Jun, chief designer of the third generation BeiDou Navigation Satellite System (BDS-3), discussed how China developed its own navigation satellite system and completed its constellation of thirty-five satellites after over two decades of effort. The system is now serving a wide range of applications including transportation and agriculture.
Xie told Hong Kong students that the Nation’s astronautical projects need talents from all academic disciplines. “Specifically for the BeiDou programme, we are particularly in need of talents with chemistry or physics backgrounds to help solve engineering challenges like the development of atomic clocks and homegrown parts,” he said.
PolyU teachers and students led by PolyU’s President, Professor Jin-Guang TENG, also had an exchange salon session in the afternoon with Xie, Zhang and the Tianwen-1 Mars probe’s chief designer SUN Zezhou, together with young astronautical scientists from the China Aerospace Science and Technology Corporation. Other PolyU researchers who attended included Professor YUNG Kai-leung, Director of the University Research Centre for Deep Space Explorations and Chair Professor & Associate Head of Department of Industrial and Systems Engineering; Professor WU Bo, Associate Head of Department of Land Surveying and Geo-informatics; and Professor FU Xiaowen, Associate Dean (External Engagement) of Faculty of Engineering.
Ms Eunice Cheng
Interim Director, Communications and Public Affairs Office
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Mr Matt Ho
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