Malaysian Astronaut To Spin Top,
Toss Batu Seremban In Space

From Bernama of November 15, 2006

KUALA LUMPUR, Nov 15 (Bernama) -- The Malaysian pioneer astronaut will spin top and toss 'batu seremban' (five-stone game) as part of an experiment during his space travel.
"The astronaut will also paint a batik motif and make 'teh tarik' ('pulled' tea) which would be shared with his fellow astronauts," said Agriculture and Agro-based Industry Ministry parliamentary secretary Datuk Rohani Abdul Karim.
Rohani, who was representing the Science, Technology and Innovation Ministry, was responding to a supplementary question from Datuk Dr Marcus Mojigoh (BN-Putatan) in the Dewan Rakyat, here Wednesday.
('Batu seremban' is played by throwing one stone and sweeping another on the floor and then simultaneously catching the one thrown earlier.)
On Marcus's original question, Rohani said a lot of scientists had forwarded their research proposal in space to the astronaut.
"The main objective of sending an astronaut into orbit is to carry out scientific experiments under microgravity - a situation alien to the earth. As such the National Aerospace Agency has opened doors to our scientists to show their mettle and capabilities through the National Astronaut Programme," said Rohani.
She said the outcome of the experiments would be studied on earth with the hope that it would unravel the mysteries in science, education and medicine.
"The National Astronaut Programme is not only aimed at despatching an astronaut into space but it will be a continuous affair as it will benefit the people."
She said the programme was not borne by the Treasury, but derived by offsetting the purchase of Sukhoi jet fighters from Russia by the Defence Ministry.
Two Malaysian astronaut candidates Dr Sheikh Muszaphar Shukor and Kapt Dr Faiz Khaleed are now undergoing rigorous 12-month training at Star City, Moscow where eventually one of them will be selected as the pioneer Malaysian astronaut who will lift off from the International Space Station.


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