Wednesday, October 08, 2008

Chinese Space Walk Filmed in Water, Say Chinese Bloggers

By Zhang Haishan and Shi Yu
Epoch Times Staff
Oct 7, 2008
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Related articles: China > Regime

A Chinese astronaut exits the spacecraft. (Intercepted image)
Virtually every eyeball in China was on the launch of Chinese spacecraft Shenzhou VII, just as the Chinese regime wanted. But among those eyeballs were many observant ones—maybe too observant for the Chinese Communist Party’s liking.

Chinese state-run media called the Shenzhou VII mission “a historic moment.” However, online bloggers have pointed out physics-defying phenomena in the news footage of its space walk that suggest the whole operation was filmed not in space, but under water.

As soon as China Central Television (CCTV) broadcast “live” footage of astronauts conducting operations aboard Shenzhou VII on Sept.27, the broadcast was met with skepticism and ridicule among many in the online community in China.

[Video: Live broadcast of Shenzhou VII’s spacewalk on YouTube. []]

Some think that CCTV's broadcast of the spacewalk was used to distract attention from the rapidly growing scandal of Melamine-contaminated food from China.

‘Tied It in Water’

In an eight-minute clip from CCTV, an astronaut emerged from the hatch of the spacecraft and hooked ropes to the outside of the craft. He waved and spoke to the camera briefly before proceeding to exit the craft completely, clinging to the outside of the craft. The image began to break and camera switched to scenes from inside the control center.

Sounds of the on-board crew communicating with the ground control center could be heard in the broadcast footage. In it, the commander of the space mission said, “Number one; Number two; Tied it in water; Operation is normal,” which bloggers took to mean that the operation was conducted in water. (“Number one” and “number two” referred to astronauts Zhai Zhigang and Liu Boming.) [Video:Youtube links:]

Bubbles in Space?

Two seconds into the video from CCTV, bubble-like objects rose from the hatch as it sprung open. At 5 min 49 second, a bubble attached to the astronaut’s helmet. At 6 min 42 seconds, bubbles swiftly came out of the cabin. On the left corner of the video, bubbles gushed out at an angle at 7 min 17 seconds into the video.

A blogger, who is a physicist, commented in a Chinese Epoch Times article that, assuming the operation was conducted in the water, the bubbles rose faster than they would have if the water was not propelled using a wave-blower. Wave blowers are commonly used in underwater space-training exercises to simulate the weightlessness of space.

Point-Source Lighting

On CCTV’s video, a mirror on Zhai Zhigang’s wirst reflected the lights of three lamp arrays. (CCTV)
After astronaut Zhai Zhigang slipped out of the spacecraft, there were many instances of light shining on his lower body. Light was also seen a few times on the red flag he was holding. The source of the lighting is unknown.

From the CCTV’s live broadcast of the spacewalk, the white light could be seen shining on astronaut Zhai Zhigang’s lower body when he moved to the left and right side of the spacecraft, and there was a distinctive contrast between the area of light and darkness, suggesting that lights were present on either side of the craft.

More tellingly, rows of lamps were visible in the reflection of mirrors on the astronaut’s wrists. At 8 min 41 seconds, the mirror on the astronaut’s left wrist showed clearly three rows of lamps with five or six in each row.

The surface of Zhai Zhigang’s watch, at 8 min 54 seconds, also reflected the lamp arrays, indicating the light source did exist and was fixed in its position.

Other Anomalies

The light casts on the red flag from the lower left side. (Intercepted image)
Some Chinese bloggers felt that images of the spacewalk were so clear that they could have been faked.

Compared to footage from the November American spacewalk, the Chinese images were much clearer and were free from intermittent noise signals.

Throughout the entire broadcast, Shenzhou VII remained almost completely static, unlike previous American or Russian missions—namely, their spacecrafts moved.

If the video camera were placed in a fixed spot inside the spacecraft, the spacecraft and the earth should have moved a little in the scenes due to the movement of the spacecraft. However, in the captured images, no movement can be seen, and the Earth just hung above the spacecraft like a super-sized moon.

In American or Russian spacewalk missions, astronauts usually left the spacecraft and walked or at least floated in space. But Zhai’s hands did not leave the lever of the spacecraft at all; prompting bloggers to say that did not really take a walk in space.

Some bloggers held that this is probably because letting go in water would not produce convincing results—if he did not hold on to something, he would either completely sink to the bottom or completely float to the top.

Zhai held a red Communist flag that bloggers said waved too much for a weightless environment. Professor Yen-Hsyang Chu of Taiwan’s National Central University said in a news interview by Taiwan’s TVBS, “Without resistance force, when you wave a flag, the flag will move with your hands. However, it is unlikely for the flag to move like it is pushed by waves or winds.”

Political Factors

According to a State announcement on Sept. 7, Shenzhou VII was scheduled to be launched in October but it was rescheduled for an earlier launch at the end of September, just as an international scandal involving lethal Chinese milk products gained prominence. Political analysts say that due to tremendous domestic and international pressure, the Chinese regime moved up its spacewalk in hopes to shift focus away from the milk scandal.

Please see these two articles in Chinese:
OLYMPIC WATCH: Human Rights in China and Beijing 2008

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