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China Plans Deep Impact Mission 286

Posted by Zonk
from the sequels-are-great dept.
Comatose51 writes "China is planning its own Deep Impact mission. The goal of the mission, unlike the exploratory NASA project, is to push potential life-ending comets or asteroids away from a collision course with the earth." From the article: " The third nation to launch a man into space has lofty space ambitions that include putting two astronauts into orbit this September and eventually sending up a space station and even a manned mission to the moon."
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China Plans Deep Impact Mission

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday July 08, 2005 @08:33PM (#13018333)
    Alternatively:
    The goal of the mission, unlike the exploratory NASA project, is to push potential life-ending comets or asteroids away from a collision course with China and divert them toward Mongolia.
  • by DanielMarkham (765899) * on Friday July 08, 2005 @08:33PM (#13018337) Homepage
    In addition to the comet mission, they are going to build their fourth space launch center [reuters.co.uk], and they've also announced plans to militarize their space program [chinadaily.com.cn].
    I wonder, when they finally land someone on the moon, will they say "We came in peace for all mankind"?

    New Star Trek Film Planned by Fans [whattofix.com]
    • by venicebeach (702856) on Friday July 08, 2005 @08:41PM (#13018377) Homepage Journal
      Well they are certainly talking ambitiously. But I'll believe it when I see it... From the article:

      "Actually, our country has its own Deep Impact plans, it's just we've never revealed them to the public before," the Beijing News quoted Chinese astronomer Zhao Haibin as saying.

      In other words, oh yes, we were planning to do that the whole time...but of course -

      China still had to overcome technical obstacles before it could send a comet collider into space, Xinhua news agency quoted Huang Chunping, the lead engineer behind sending China's first man into space in '03, as saying

      This is the Xinhua News Agency [wikipedia.org] which according to wikipedia "reports directly to the Communist Party's Propoganda Department".
      • This is the Xinhua News Agency which according to wikipedia "reports directly to the Communist Party's Propoganda Department".

        I for one trust state-controlled media. Nothing false ever came out of Pravda, right?
        • I for one trust state-controlled media. Nothing false ever came out of Pravda, right?

          Did Pravda ever have pictorials of Britney Spears pregnant?

          Xinhua is a supermarket tabloid.

          Now would The Examiner be more or less accurate if run by the State?

      • by Burning1 (204959) on Friday July 08, 2005 @09:59PM (#13018658) Homepage
        Why wouldn't they have plans?

        People are always asking themselves "what if." The US military has plans for full scale thermo-nuclear war with canada. I have plans to teleport into strange women's bedrooms. Scientists especially tend to plan things out, even if they aren't likely.

        We're all waiting on impetus and technology.
      • Actually (Score:3, Interesting)

        by Alien54 (180860)
        Actually, the sneaky thing would be to aim a tiny comet or fragment thereof in such a way as to take out "accidently" an appropriate city of their political enemy. It would work as part of their secret warfare strategy.
    • by Aardpig (622459) on Friday July 08, 2005 @08:56PM (#13018445)

      and they've also announced plans to militarize their space program.

      What, like the USA did years ago?

      • I agree that's got to be the saddest most tragic thing the U.S. has done in a while....

        Other countries are still assisting Nasa for some reason...
      • And the Soviet Union before that... check out the photos of the Polyus weapons platform [k26.com].
      • The US has two space programs: one is civilian, one is military. Both are needed.
    • "I wonder, when they finally land someone on the moon, will they say "We came in peace for all mankind"?"

      Surely, you have heard of the Star Wars Program, right?
    • I wonder, when they finally land someone on the moon, will they say "We came in peace for all mankind"?

      Nope. They will say, "All your moonbase are belong to us." :)

  • by Krankheit (830769) on Friday July 08, 2005 @08:35PM (#13018342)
    NASA had visual, but I am hoping China can one-up NASA and put a microphone onboard so we can hear the exciting sounds of a space collision. Did George Lucas do this?
  • by Sancho (17056) on Friday July 08, 2005 @08:37PM (#13018349) Homepage
    All these "deep impact" projects are starting to freak me out. Does the One World Government know something we don't?
    • "All these "deep impact" projects are starting to freak me out. Does the One World Government know something we don't?"

      They know that it's a realistic possibility. They also know that there ain't a whole lot we can do when something finally does show up.
    • Troll? What kind of retard modded this? If anything it's funny. However, there is always the big question about the return of "Planet X" AKA Niburu... It COULD happen.
      • Re:World killer? (Score:3, Interesting)

        by Sancho (17056)
        I guess some people don't know the definition of the word Troll....

        See, it'd be trolling if I suggested that Bush's war with Iraq was merely a distraction to keep the public from knowing about the comet.
      • Monkeys COULD fly out of my butt.
        • There is much less likelihood of that happening since it's unlikely that your but (and the rest of your GI tract) is capable of holding even one monkey. Not to mention, monkeys cannot fly. So you would also have yo have monkeys that are bizarrely small and equipped with flying apparatus of some kind thereby doubling the space (flying equipment = 1 monkey in size) required to house monkeys.

          Whereas, it has been scientifically proven that *something* is out there neare Uranus and Neptune causing a gravitati
  • The Deep Impact mission was to learn about comets' structure. The comet threw up a tremendous amount of debris, much more than was expected.

    It would seem that the data gathered would be critical to any future mission to comets that intended to push a comet off course.

  • by cxreg (44671) on Friday July 08, 2005 @08:38PM (#13018354) Homepage Journal
    is to find a comet that is actually going to impact Earth...
  • Has China begin using rockets they have designed, or are they still using Russian technology?
  • litigation (Score:5, Funny)

    by Gherald (682277) on Friday July 08, 2005 @08:47PM (#13018407) Journal
    Ahhh, the advantages of not having a proper modern legal system [google.com]

    If it was Europe trying to pull this shit, we'd have a second defendant!
  • by Serapth (643581) on Friday July 08, 2005 @08:48PM (#13018408)
    look forward to a nation finally putting a man on the moon, instead of faking it! :)
    • Hahaha... modded to troll on a joke in less then 5 seconds... You people take your space race very seriously, dont you? :) Fuck it, ive got karma to burn... mod this a troll too!
  • by PrntlUnit27 (878377) on Friday July 08, 2005 @08:50PM (#13018420)
    What if they don't find a US flag up there?
    • > What if they don't find a US flag up there?

      If they don't respect America's claim to the moon, I'll wager Taiwan becomes the 52nd U.S. state along with Puerto Rico.
      • What claim to the moon? We were under an international agreement explicitly forbidding any such claims, hence the engraving on Eagle's base: "We came in peace for all mankind." The US flag was symbolism (and something to rub the Soviets' noses in), not a territorial claim.
  • That the comets that might _potentially_ hit the earth are the most stunning to view from earth. Diverting them away from earth takes away some awesome home astronomical viewing. If they are going to do this, they should only divert ones that they can certainly establish would pass too close for comfort (which might happen once or twice in a hundred years).
  • by G4from128k (686170) on Friday July 08, 2005 @08:56PM (#13018446)
    An estimate of the orbital delta-v for Tempel /Deep Impact [universetoday.com] suggests a velocity change of only 1 cm/hour (I can't vouch for the math). Assuming we would need to nudge a threatening body by 1/2 the diameter of the Earth (from direct hit to grazing pass-by), we would need to know to hit a Tempel 1-sized body in advance by over 73,000 years. This type of mission would work 10 years in advance for much smaller bodies (say less than 350 m in diameter). Even these estimates assume a perfect strike by the deflecting deep impactor -- a margin of error or the need to push the object several Earth-diameters further reduces the potential for this method.

    Kinetic energy is not the way to go. Deep Impact delivered only about 4.5 kt of TNT. In contrast, a good sized thermonuclear weapon could deliver thousands of times that energy (even taking into account the relatively poor conversion of 100 megatons yield into delta-V).
    • Energy isn't exactly relevent since what we need to do is transfer momentum. I don't think a nuclear weapon is the best way to do that. If you're going to send a fission device out there, I say use an engine. This probably requires a delicate rendevous with the comet, rather than a simple ballistic interception, though.
    • Kinetic energy from one blast might not work. But if you could land something on the comet that could provide a sustained small thrust, you wouldn't need the same lead time.

      For example, a solar sail could do it... or some kind of rocket that could use the comet as fuel.

      These experiments give us enough knowledge to at least give us options that have a chance of working.
    • by iggymanz (596061) on Friday July 08, 2005 @09:31PM (#13018559)
      Here's neat link mentioning megatons of yield needed to deflect 1km asteroid by cm/s. here [spaceref.com] Repeated applications of the more usual 1-5 MT warheads seems more reasonable than the need to invent a 100MT monster. But if the dimensions of the asteroid are of the order of dozens of cubic km then we're probably screwed! 8D

      Just to wax philosophical for a moment, I hear people talk about founding space stations so we "don't have all our eggs in one basket", but if the entire earth gets wiped out does it really matter if we have a couple dozen people in a space station or moon base? nah, who gives a crap at that point, certainly you or I won't....
    • Deep Impact released energy equivalent to only 4.5 _tons_ of TNT, not 4.5 kilotons.
      I've lost count of how many times I've seen this mistake made.
  • Astronauts? (Score:4, Informative)

    by gumpish (682245) on Friday July 08, 2005 @08:57PM (#13018449) Journal
    From the blurb: From the article: "The third nation to launch a man into space has lofty space ambitions that include putting two astronauts into orbit this September and eventually sending up a space station and even a manned mission to the moon."

    I'm pretty sure you mean taikonaut (unless the Chinese are really sending Americans into space...)
    • Re:Astronauts? (Score:3, Informative)

      by Rangsk (681047)
      According to this [wikipedia.org] Wikipedia article:
      Taikonaut is sometimes used in English for astronauts from China by Western news media. The term was coined in May 1998 by Chiew Lee Yih from Malaysia, who used it first in newsgroups. Almost simultaneously, Chen Lan coined it for use in the Western media based on the term tàikng (), Chinese for space. In Chinese itself, however, a single term yháng yuán (, "universe navigator") has long been used for astronauts and cosmonauts. The closest term using taiko
    • I'm pretty sure you mean taikonaut (unless the Chinese are really sending Americans into space...)

      By that logic a French spacefarer would be called éspaceonaut, a Swedish rymdonaut and a German Weltraumonaut.

      Why use this multilingual arrangement specifically for spacefarers? Why not use it also for airline pilots, bakers, mushrooms and shoes?

      Terrorism may have turned the United States into a nation of fear and aggression, but it won't succeed in Europe.
  • You see... (Score:5, Funny)

    by Surazal (729) on Friday July 08, 2005 @08:58PM (#13018452) Homepage Journal
    China's not happy since they are the fireworks experts. They don't want to be outdone.

    I kid. ;^)
  • Which method? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by davmoo (63521) on Friday July 08, 2005 @09:00PM (#13018458)
    I wonder which way China will go with their visions for space.

    Will they follow through and actually do what they claim.

    Or will they take the US route (which we'll call "Fred") where we talk grand plans and visions...then we cut funding for other projects that are already successfully producing major scientific discovery, and finally we then cut funding even more and adapt 40 year old technology that never lived up to its original expectations in the first place. And then when it fails we propose gigantic new visions we don't intend to follow through on, so that everyone forgets about the failure of the earlier project.
  • Of course... (Score:2, Interesting)

    by dbolger (161340)
    the real irony comes when their first test to see if they can "nudge" a comet accidentally sends the target spiralling towards Earth ;)

  • Only genius of China nation think so clearly for future requirments of Grate Space missions.

    The Nasa needs to play catch up games now, I beleive. (If try the copying of ideas, then perhaps you will find...)

  • by vchoy (134429) on Friday July 08, 2005 @09:45PM (#13018610)
    Just imagine:

    One big label on earth:

    "Saved By China"
  • by you-nix-boy (698814) on Friday July 08, 2005 @10:11PM (#13018695)
    After all, nudging a comet with enough accuracy to hit a point on the earth would take unheard of mathematical precision, requiring millions of skilled... oh, wait, never mind...
  • by KidSock (150684) on Friday July 08, 2005 @11:27PM (#13019044)
    Why aren't the Chinese getting involved with ISS? Or are they? If not, who's being the stick in the mud - NASA or the Chinese? It seems terribly wasteful to ignore existing infrastructure.
    • Well it's because competition actually breeds innovation and causes people to get off their lazy asses.

      The ISS-monopoly on the other hand is cementing the status-quo. Just look at the ISS: A giant monstrosity which seems to be more concerned with luxury for astronauts than anything else.

      We need a new space race, otherwise we will never be able to get off this planet.

      And the pioneers won't be using giant ships with enormous free space like in Star-Trek (or on the ISS). They will be travelling in tiny

  • "The Chinese don't need a rocket: they can stand on each other's shoulders." :)
  • I don't know about everyone else, but when someone else says they plan to "move comets" while at the same time saying they are going to militarize their space program (see first top rated comment in this thread), well that stops and makes me think a little about what the two mean together.

    Especially when the title is "Deep Impact" yet they don't plan to crash INTO the comet but to move it INTO... some other target? Perhaps a military target? :-)

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