[HIT Forum] More than 400 attendees explore space at HIT forum

Hundreds of students and industry insiders gathered at the 2023 Korea Herald Humanity In Tech Forum held at the Shilla Seoul to discuss the future of space exploration and its impact on humanity.

“My hobby is to write science fiction novels. I was inspired by the talks given by the speakers, especially the part where Yi Soyeon said, ‘Earth is the cradle of humanity, but one cannot live in a cradle forever,’ quoting the Russian rocket scientist Konstatin Tsiolkovsky,” said Choi Da-bin, a neuroscience major at Ewha Woman's University.

“I hope to further develop my hobby through the lectures given today, especially as the leading sci-fi genre author Bae Myung-hoon gives a lecture today,” Choi said.

A large number of students joined the event, excited to meet Yi, Korea's one and only astronaut, in person.

“I have been interested in space since I was younger. There is just this inexplainable longing for space in me,” said Jang Myoung-shin, another student from Ewha Woman’s University majoring in mathematics education.

“It was an honor to meet Yi in-person today, whom I have known about since childhood. Her speech about appreciating reality was touching, and she is definitely a role model for me as a female astronaut,” she said.

After Yi wrapped up her speech, students like Jang lined up in front of the stage to take photos with her.

Students also asked questions about space and its relationship with humanity to Yi and Sasha Sagan -- another keynote speaker and daughter of the legendary US astronomer Carl Sagan -- during a Q&A session following a joint panel discussion between the two speakers.

An attendee asked what Sagan would like to see in the future of space travel, referring to the recent push for commercial space flights.

“The best case scenario would be everyone who wants the opportunity to go up and have a glimpse of the Earth comes back with a sense of gratitude and appreciation for our planet,” Sagan responded.

A student from Hongik University majoring in arts asked Yi whether people from unrelated fields can say they have an interest in space without much background knowledge.

“A person does not have to be good at soccer to like the sport -- and it's the same with space,” Yi said. “There are already plenty of experts in the engineering field that are interested in space. There should be more from other disciplines showing interest.”

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