Holding up welcoming banners and cheering fervidly, some 2,000 Hong Kong students in tidy school uniform was waiting to meet their space heroes at the Queen Elizabeth Stadium Monday morning.
"We came here to show our support to the spaceflight development of our country," said Miss Chan, a teacher from Yuen Long Wai Chow School, who had brought about ten students to see the taikonauts.
Three Chinese taikonauts, who jointly carried out China's historic maiden space walk, and dozens of other members of the Shenzhou VII spacecraft Monday attended a sharing session with an audience including more than 2,000 students from about 200 local primary and middle schools.
"What did you see during the space walk?" Students were eager to know what it was like in the space.
Zhai Zhigang, the first Chinese taikonaut who got out of the spacecraft and walked in the space, told the audience that the space was very lucid, not as dark as people thought before, and one can have an extensive view up there.
He said, however, that he have not take time to enjoy the beautiful scenery as he needed to finish up the assigned mission within a limited time.
"Being chosen to carry out the space walk made me feel honored and happy, but it had also give me additional pressure and responsibility," he added.
"Can you bring personal belongings up into the space? What will you bring next time?" Students were also interested in taikonauts' life in the space.
"Of course, we can," taikonaut Jing Haipeng said, "I myself had brought photos of my family and I will definitely bring a dining table with Hong Kong cuisine next time."
For Zhai, he said that he wanted to bring a space detector to find out whether there will be other kinds of life form existing in the space.
"If I meet an alien next time, I think I can try to use body language to communicate with them," said Zhai.
The stadium was full of laughter every time when the taikonauts threw out an answer that the audience found amusive.
Being a taikonaut is never easy. All three space heroes agreed that it was important to have a supportive and considerate family, so that they can engage in their spaceflight mission intently.
"You must be firm in volition, don't give up and you will eventually reach your goal," taikonaut Liu Boming encouraged students to have their own dreams.
On listening to their hardship during training, many of the students were moved by the space heroes' spirit.
"I want to be the first Chinese female taikonaut and to leave my footmarks on planets like Mars and Mercury," said primary five student, Lau Hui-yan.
"Be persistent," Ng Kin-fung, studying primary six, said, "this is what impressed me most during the sharing session."
China successfully put Zhai Zhigang into outer space for 20 minutes this September with the Shenzhou VII spacecraft, which means "divine vessels" in English.
(Xinhua News Agency December 8, 2008)