There's a lot you can do without gravity bringing you down.

Chinese astronaut Chen Dong was on video link with a local TV show back home, and decided to demonstrate playing table tennis by himself.

On Earth, his darting back and forth the cabin to hit the ball drew giggles from the studio audience — head coach of the national table tennis team Liu Guoliang, Rio Olympics gold medallist Ma Long, and silver medallist Zhang Ji Ke.

"He moves even faster than Ma and Zhang," said the coach. 

Chen set off for space with fellow astronaut Jing Haipeng in October. The two are on the Tiangong 2 space station, helping to prep for 2018's planned launch of the station's core module.

Quelle: Mashable


Update: 25.11.2016


Shenzhou-11 capsule opened, experiment samples retrieved 


The reentry capsule that brought Shenzhou-11 astronauts Jing Haipeng and Chen Dong back to Earth has been unveiled at a ceremony in Beijing which saw the retrieval of some of the mission's space experiment samples.

The capsule landed safely in north Inner Mongolia on November 18 after a near 33-day stay in space, making Shenzhou-11 China's longest-ever crewed mission.

As well as the crew, the capsule also returned experiment materials that either stayed in space for 33 days with Shenzhou-11 or for 66 days from the launch of China's Tiangong-2 space lab.

These materials include bacteria samples, silkworm cocoons, crop seeds, herbal seeds and seedlings, a traditional ceremonial Tibetan hada scarf, a Chinese kite from Weifang, and a flag made by China youth volunteers.

Samples retrieved from the Shenzhou-11 reentry capsule (Su Dong/China Daily).
Samples retrieved from the Shenzhou-11 reentry capsule (Su Dong/China Daily).

"After orbiting in space for some time, the seeds of the Chinese wolfberry will mutate, and some of those mutations will be beneficial. Planting those seeds will be of great significance," Xue Gang, Deputy Secretary-General of the People's Government of Ningxia Hui Autonomous Region, told CCTV.

An experiment created by Hong Kong schoolgirls meanwhile aimed to test the effects of microgravity on the silk spinning of silkworms.

The ceremony was held jointly by the China Manned Space Engineering Office and the China Aerospace Science and Technology Corporation (CASC), the main contractor for the country's space programme.

Chinese space station

The Shenzhou-11 and Tiangong-2 missions are test beds for China's ambitions to establish a large, modular space station in orbit.

The 20 metric tonne core module is expected to be launched in 2018 by the new Long March 5 heavy-lift launch vehicle.

Yang Liwei, who became China's first astronaut in space in 2003, said the missions serve Chinese scientists, their research and the people, and further work will, "aid the economic development of our country and the health of our people."

Jing Haipeng 'walks' silkworms aboard Tiangong-2.
Above: Jing Haipeng 'walks' silkworms aboard Tiangong-2.

Quelle: gbtimes