Alibaba Volunteers Develop Stargazing Mini Program to Spur Rural Students’ Space Interest

Last month, a group of rural students in Sichuan Province used astronomical telescope and mini program developed by Alibaba volunteers to observe and capture Chinese space station when it passed over their location.

A team of five Alibaba programmers enthusiastic about promoting aerospace science spent over five months making the astronomical telescope and developing the stargazing mini-program that uses optical tracking technology to automatically track various planets and near-Earth artificial objects.

The innovative achievement originated from idea of Fang Rungen, Principal of Luding Middle School in Ganzi Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture in Sichuan Province. He noticed a lack of science teachers and equipment even if rural students showed curiosity and love for the vast starry sky. To address this issue, Fang turned to a volunteer group at Alibaba.

SEE ALSO: Digitization Guides Tea Production in A County in Southwest China

Cao Lin, the head of the group, suggested using footage from a space station to enable children to greet astronauts on board. The group then collaborated with a Peking University Ph.D. in astrophysics to develop an affordable astronomical observation system for rural schools.

Cao stated that aerospace education is challenging to implement due to its high threshold. The objective of Alibaba volunteers is to offer affordable and sustainable science education to rural students while utilizing technology as a means of bridging the digital divide and promoting scientific spirit.