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Visions of Earth and beyond

STRIKING the chord of "Better City, Better Life," World Expo 2010 Shanghai China is drawing close. At the Expo site, which spans both banks of the Huangpu River, stand theme pavilions ready to display the latest advances in science and technology and the best in human thinking. We all share the dream expressed in the theme of this great event.

World Expos have always been a stage for dreams. Since the earliest expos in the mid-19th century, these global expositions have become the showcases of man's ingenuity in science and technology. Past expos first introduced us to the telephone, the gramophone, the tape recorder, television and other important inventions that have improved people's lives. Man's more modern exploration in outer space and his relentless desire to learn about the universe around him have now become regular features of these expos. The yearning to fly °?- higher and higher - has always dominated the dreams of childhood.

The Seattle World's Fair in 1962 heralded this important chapter in human history by selecting as its theme "Man in the Space Age," only five years after the successful launch of the world's first man-made satellite. Towering over the Expo Park was a 185-meter-high pavilion, the Space Needle, which resembled a flying saucer about to dart into outer space from the top of a tall launch tower. The pavilion was girdled with structures based on concepts drawn from outer space, Earth and the 21st century, envisaging what life and progress might be like in the next century. In 1970, one year after the first moon landing in human history, Expo '70 in Osaka, Japan, exhibited a rock brought back from the moon by the Apollo spacecraft. It became one of the most popular exhibits at the exposition. In the exhibition hall, a giant picture depicting the footmarks of astronaut Neil Armstrong on the moon showcased the greatest moment in human history, overwhelming visitors with excitement.

Looking back, we feel inspired by the remarkable progress of history; looking ahead we are swept up in boundless imagination and fascination about the future.

World Expo 2010 Shanghai China will be a great event ushering in a great era. As an astronaut brought up by my motherland, I am filled with excitement and pride because this exposition in China will show the strength and prosperity of my country and reveal mankind's beautiful dreams about the future.

I will never forget the spectacular view when I looked down at the Earth from the spaceship Shenzhou V during my space mission in 2003. Below the white clouds, our blue planet and the endless universe looked so fascinating.

I once told some children that I chose to become an astronaut because I believed that, although Earth is the cradle of mankind, mankind wouldn't stay in this cradle forever. No doubt, this exploration will never end, and we have just taken our first steps. Exploration into the vast unknown world requires our wisdom, courage, curiosity and never-ending research endeavors.

At World Expo 2010 Shanghai China, Chinese aerospace scientists and engineers have built a Space Home Pavilion. Based on the presentation concepts of "universe," "earth" and "mankind," the pavilion will be divided into several sections, including the Origin of Dreams, Spacewalk and Beautiful Homeland. These are all designed to demonstrate the adventurous spirit of Chinese aerospace scientists and engineers and to illustrate the benefits of space technology development and application to human life. Taking the vast, mysterious universe as its background, the pavilion resembles a magic cube floating in air, as if from outer space. I am sure it will give visitors a totally different and fascinating experience and cause them to speculate with boundless imagination about the future.

Dreams never end. They are the driving force behind space exploration and they are also the driving force behind efforts to create better cities and better lives. World Expo 2010 Shanghai China will be a spectacle presenting dreams that will surely come true and lead us into a better future.


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