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Taikonauts share 'high' experiences with Macao students
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The three Chinese astronauts, who made the nation's historic maiden space walk with the Shenzhou VII spacecraft, Tuesday met and shared their traveling experiences high up in the space with more than 2,000 Macao students.

The astronaut trio, Zhai Zhigang, Liu Boming and Jing Haipeng, attended the "dialogue meeting" with the local students at an indoor stadium of the Macao Polytechnic Institute.

The students were too shy to ask questions at first, and the organizers was considerate enough to arrange some students to ask "classic" questions as "What are your feelings when traveling in the space?" and "How can one be able to qualify as an astronaut?" The astronauts, though having already made a similar four-day visit to Hong Kong and asked with the same questions for several times before, still provide precise answers to the students with patience.

Zhai, the one who actually accomplished the task of space walk, said he did not "have much feeling" when waving the national flag after getting out of the spacecraft. However, the passions aroused as he went back to the Earth. "Thanks to the greatness of technology and the strong support of our nation, the Chinese can leave their footprints in the space."

The astronauts, also known as taikonauts in China, and other members of the Shenzhou VII manned space mission arrived in Macao by jetfoil from Hong Kong Monday, kicking off their three-day official visit in the Special Administrative Region (SAR).

Zhai described the space as "clear, vast and boundless" when reciting his well-prepared lyric prose on his own feelings about the space. He even asked if the students present did not write about his space traveling experience with their imagination. Only one student among the 2,000-odd crowd raised his hand.

The astronauts are not necessarily robot-like beings, they do have entertainment like ordinary people, said Liu. "Actually each of us know how to handle at least one musical instrument," he said, adding that he know how to play a trumpet, while Zhai and Jing are good Saxophone and trombone players respectively.

As for Jing, he told the students that he chose the career as an astronaut, which is one of the most risky jobs in the world, since he is more than willing to accept great challenges. By that, he also encouraged the local students to set up their long-term goals and stick to it, and "your dreams will come true".

The visiting astronauts will leave for the Chinese mainland Wednesday.

(Xinhua News Agency December 10, 2008)

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