Feature: A tale of stars and "stars" inspires in SW China-Xinhua

Feature: A tale of stars and "stars" inspires in SW China

Source: Xinhua

Editor: huaxia

2024-04-25 16:17:30

GUIYANG, April 25 (Xinhua) -- In the deep mountainous area of the Ganxi Gelao and Dong ethnic township in Shiqian County, southwest China's Guizhou Province, the starry night sky unfolds slowly like a picture scroll.

This starry sky not only inspires and fuels local people's endless reverie about the universe, but is also witnessing two little children's fantasy journeys from hiding from the "stars" to chasing the "stars."

As a rocket wreckage landing area, Shiqian County has the task of recycling the wreckage of satellites and rocket boosters launched at the Xichang Satellite Launch Center.

Every time a rocket is launched, people in the wreckage landing area have to go outside for safety in an open area. The stripped rocket booster is like a shooting star streaking across the sky, and teachers or parents will tell local children that they are hiding from the "stars."

Liu Yingmei, a 12-year-old girl of the Gelao ethnic group who lives in a remote village in Ganxi, has been hiding from the "stars" since she could remember.

"When I was little, whenever the loudspeaker in our village sounded, every household would lead out their cattle and sheep and carry kerosene lamps to hide from the 'stars,'" Liu said.

"People gathered at a place in the open air or on the school playground, waiting for the arrival of the 'stars.' At that time, we didn't know what the 'stars' really meant," Liu recalled. "Although there have been no casualties, we have to listen to what adults tells us to do in order to best protect ourselves. The distant 'stars' are both strange and familiar to me."

Tan Yuchen, a 12-year-old boy of the Dong ethnic group, is Liu's classmate at the township's primary school. "The 'star' seems very far away but its sound is very close, I really want to see its original appearance," he said.

In mid-November 2022, Li Juntian, head of China's Space Dream Science and Technology Volunteer Group, and Zhang Hai, deputy head of the group, came to the township school to select students to go to Xichang and watch a rocket launch. Liu and Tan were both selected.

Driving from Shiqian County, they arrived in Xichang in the southwestern Sichuan Province, where the Xichang Satellite Launch Center is located, at 1 a.m. on Nov. 23.

"The rocket is too big, and I feel so small," Liu said, as she looked at the rocket with her own eyes on Nov. 27, 2022, which was the scheduled date for the rocket launch. Tan, who was standing beside her, also looked at the rocket in the distance, wanting to retain every detail in his memory.

"There were huge differences between the rocket that I saw there and what my imagination had previously created. I used to think that the rocket was very small and far away from us. However, I saw that the rocket was extremely huge, and our distance was very close. When it was launched, the noise was deafening," said Tan.

Experiencing and watching the rocket launch process planted the seeds of a "flying dream" in the hearts of the two children. After returning to school, Liu and Tan couldn't wait to share with other students their experience and feelings after watching these "stars," telling them about the breathtaking scene they had witnessed when the satellite was launched.

The vivid narration provided by these two children also aroused the curiosity of other students, and inspired more children in the mountainous area to dream of exploring the universe and flying high in service of the motherland.

The story of the two young "star" chasers has ignited great passion and love for the fields of science and aerospace at the school. Recently, some students there made simple models of rockets and satellites, helping them to better understand the specific structure and launch process of rockets and satellites through their own practical work.

"A child who lives in the mountainous area can walk out of the mountains, which means the family can be lifted out of poverty. Watching the satellite launch process and witnessing the forefront of China's science and technology prowess opened the eyes of the two children and helped them to become people who can contribute to society in the future. The seeds of the space dream are also deeply rooted in their hearts," said Cai Dafu, principal of the school.

"I also want to go to the sky, just like Wang Yaping, to see what Earth looks like from space. And I will definitely go out of the mountainous area and fly into space," Liu said.