Searching for Extraterrestrial Life is a priority for China

Space exploration has become a national priority for China ­— and a Hong Kong scientist appointed to an international body searching for alien life says he is confident many of us will live to see the first evidence of extra-terrestrial life.

It was at the opening of the General Assembly of the International Astronomical Union in Beijing that it dawned upon Professor Sun Kwok, the University of Hong Kong’s dean of science, just how seriously China takes the quest for space exploration.

To the surprise and delight of Kwok and his colleagues, the assembly at the end of August was opened by the country’s Vice-President Xi Jinping who made it clear China was determined to be not only a world leader but a pioneer in intergalactic affairs too.

“China’s Vice-President Xi gave a very good speech,” said Kwok. “It seems he has a substantial plan on how China will move forward in the field of astronomy. I have no doubt China will make substantial financial investments both in the space program and putting facilities in Antarctica.

China is moving full steam ahead. China wants to be a major partner in the world scene of astronomy and the simple fact that Vice-President Xi was at the assembly is a great indication that this is a matter of national priority.”

It was an address that clearly fired the enthusiasm of the scientists. “He indicated in his speech that China considers this (field) to be important and has every intention to invest more to participate more,” said Kwok.

There have been few more opportune times, either, to be involved in the search for alien life, Kwok believes — and at the Beijing assembly, he was elected vice-president of the International Astronomical Union’s bio-astronomy Commission 51 for the next three years.

The commission is a dedicated body of scientists searching for evidence of extra-terrestrial life and Kwok — believed to be its first Chinese member — is convinced it is a search that will be rewarded within the lifetimes of many people alive today.

According to China Daily, China’s vice president, Xi Jinping, “made it clear Chinawas determined to be not only a world leader but a pioneer in intergalactic affairs too.” Professor Sun Kwok, the University of Hong Kong’s dean of science, believes that the vice president’s words, and his presence at the assembly, indicate that space exploration is a national priority.

( via chinadaily.com.cn)

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