Starry-eyed over interactive show

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 09 December, 1997, 12:00am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 09 December, 1997, 12:00am


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'Mars: The Quest for Life' is a new multi-media space show starting at the Hong Kong Space Museum today. The 40-minute show, in Cantonese, Putonghua and English, takes viewers on a journey to Mars and through a history of scientific theory about the planet, from Galileo to the Pathfinder mission.

The assistant curator of the Space Museum is Chan Ki-hung, 31, who moved there from the Hong Kong Science Museum over a year ago, with a Bachelor of Science (Physics) degree from Hong Kong University. He is married and lives in Chai Wan.

What's on your mind? Our new interactive system in the planetarium theatre. We have just installed this system, and we ask for audience feedback. We are working hard on this so it operates efficiently.

Why are you interested in space? When I was child I used to look at the stars and I was puzzled by what they were. After learning they were 1,000 years or even a million years old, I became very interested. I was in about Primary Five or Six.

Do you think there is life on Mars? That's difficult. I think there are very primitive life forms, maybe some viruses or bacteria. But I don't believe there's any intelligent life. That's my opinion, it has not been proved.

Do you believe the planets can influence our lives on Earth? I don't believe in astrology at all. I don't see how they can influence us because they are too far away. I studied physics, and I never learnt any theory that would connect people and planets together. I'm a Scorpio, but it's just a good way to memorise my birthday.

What are your favourite works of science fiction? I love the Star Wars trilogy, particularly The Empire Strikes Back. My favourite author is Isaac Asimov.

Could people ever live on Mars? We could have a land base there, maybe like a colony. But humans would have to live in a kind of protection shield because the environment is very harsh. The temperature is minus 50 degrees Celsius most days. Even when the sun shines, it's minus 15 and at night, minus 150.

The air is a mixture of carbon dioxide, nitrogen and argon, which we could not breathe. It is very different to the type of environment on Earth. If I ever had a chance to go there I would be very happy. But I would not like to stay for too long.