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Space Science

China to Land on Moon Around 2017 293

Posted by Zonk
from the we're-whalers-on-the-moon-we-carry-a-harpoon dept.
smooth wombat writes "China has announced that it plans to land on the moon around the year 2017. They also plan to set up a moon-based astronomical telescope, measure the thickness of the moon's soil as well as the amount of helium-3 on the moon. Helium-3 is regarded by some researchers as the perfect non-polluting fuel source. China's first lunar orbiter could blast off as early as 2007, coinciding with its third manned space trip in which possibly three men would orbit Earth in Shenzhou VII and conduct a space walk."
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China to Land on Moon Around 2017

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  • by IdleTime (561841) on Friday November 04, 2005 @07:49PM (#13954498) Journal
    US knows how to do it with 1960's technology, making the moon viable as a platform for other activities, requires almost repeating the Apollo program all over again. Why? Because all moon activity was stopped in 1972 when the last 2 Apollo flights were scrapped.

    Plus maybe the most imporant factor: money. I guess China needs 10 year to spread the cost. Or would you rather pay for it? (And here I mean you, as in US citizens) USA owns China a LOT of money, i.e. China sits on wast dollar reserves. and can easily drive the value of dollar down the drain and/or raise the US interest rate a few points. Result of the almost 8 trillion dollar deficit USA has.
  • by saskboy (600063) on Friday November 04, 2005 @07:56PM (#13954552) Homepage Journal
    "How much of it would the government have to cede to China if it also landed there?"

    That's a trick question, no one owns the Moon, much like Antarctica isn't owned by any country either. Essentailly with the Moon, the people to own it, will be the first to colonize an area which will be off limits to other colonization attempts without co-operating. Unless we find that only select spots on the Moon are suitable for a habitat, then there's so much real estate to go around, that we won't have to worry about running out for several centuries. Good planning wouldn't hurt though, so we don't end up with a bunch of lunar cul-de-sacs like suburban sprall in North America. We want Lunar Children to be able to ride their moon bike to school without taking major moon-routes.
  • by ackthpt (218170) * on Friday November 04, 2005 @08:00PM (#13954581) Homepage Journal
    US knows how to do it with 1960's technology, making the moon viable as a platform for other activities, requires almost repeating the Apollo program all over again. Why? Because all moon activity was stopped in 1972 when the last 2 Apollo flights were scrapped.

    Some parts will scarcely change, while others which may take advantage of advances in materials and computers shouldn't lag much as we've still got active launch programs for shuttles and satellites. It's not like the people who did it all suddenly died and their knowledge was lost.

    Plus maybe the most imporant factor: money. I guess China needs 10 year to spread the cost.

    You've obviously mistaken China for a poor country.

  • by Doug Coulter (754128) on Friday November 04, 2005 @08:07PM (#13954635) Homepage
    And, NASA was mostly all engineers -- good ones. Now it's mostly PhDs. This is a big difference when it comes to actually accomplishing something. An engineer solves several problems a week, and writes reports about them -- all in the same week. A PhD has solved one problem, took a few years, then took another few years to write the report. And oh yeah, his solution doesn't have to work outside the lab. As a result of working with ex-NASA employees (the good engineers who got chased out by the academic snobbery) I found the corporate culture to be pretty sick in recent (some years ago) days. Gosh, this IS rocket science, and some of it is dangerous (work out how many horsepower hours it takes to put a car into orbit, with 100% efficiency -- it's one heck of a bomb those guys ride), but they are too timid to admit that surely some folks will die playing with it. It seems China has a more healthy outlook here, and might go somewhere with it. Of course, if the academics weren't eating every last dime of the appropriations to "study stuff that can't be checked or proved", there might be money to get the job done, as there was last time. It's profitable to remember that these super smart academics missed Mars by failing to know the difference between metric and English units. Of course they are scared to attempt something most perceive as "simple". They'll want to study it for the rest of their careers and pass the problem to the next guys.
  • by khasim (1285) <brandioch.conner@gmail.com> on Friday November 04, 2005 @08:09PM (#13954645)
    We will operate under the same belief that served us well against the Soviet Union. We will build so many nukes and aim them at China that we will be able to destroy their entire country if they should ever attack us.

    The problem is that, this time, we'll be playing the part of the Soviet Union and go bankrupt trying to support an Earth-bound force when they can drop rocks on us all night. All of our satelites will be useless. All of our production facilities will be useless. But we'll still spend money on them.
  • But why? (Score:1, Interesting)

    by Red Samurai (893134) on Friday November 04, 2005 @08:12PM (#13954675)
    What exactly is the point? It was already done over 30 years ago, why waste time and money doing it again? Note: This comment is assuming, of course, that the moon landings were actually real, which they weren't.
  • Vapor hardware (Score:4, Interesting)

    by amightywind (691887) on Friday November 04, 2005 @08:28PM (#13954773) Journal

    It notice that is 1 year before the first planned landing for NASA's new lunar lander. For China to land on the moon by 2017 Apollo style they would have to have at least a 100 ton class booster and a huge, visible effort. The planned Long March 5 booster is only 25 ton class (like Arianne V or Atlas V). Development isn't even approaved yet and it will take 7 years to develop. I doubt if the Russians will be helping them. If you ask me I'd say the Chinese spokesman was smoking crack.

  • Re:Not He-3 again! (Score:3, Interesting)

    by QuantumG (50515) <qg@biodome.org> on Friday November 04, 2005 @08:43PM (#13954883) Homepage Journal
    Gathering He3 from the gas giants in our solar system would be a lot more lucrative. The Moon just happens to be closer. But frankly, there's a heck of a lot more resources on the Moon than He3. Almost all the platinium group metals mined on earth come from meteor impact sites. It costs a lot to mine these metals on earth as erosion has washed most of the meteor away and the only ores left are the ones that fused with earth rocks. On the Moon there's no such erosion, so densities of platinium group metals are expected to be much higher in the millions and millions of craters we see up there. Of course, we don't have the technology to mine this massive wealth today, and we won't have it by 2020.
  • by suitepotato (863945) on Friday November 04, 2005 @08:57PM (#13954977)
    Actually, we can build and loft transorbital weapons carrying vehicles at a rate that is truly staggering compared to China. Of couse, so could Japan for that matter. Ours though would carry some very well designed and very specialized nukes that would make any lunar base a thing of the past in short order. China can't militarize the moon. We could.

    Never mind that doing so would be insane given the nearly quarter million mile distance away. An orbital vehicle with tungsten rods deorbited by rocket would be much more effective and need no advanced materials technology in comparison to any "railgun" or other electromagnetic weapon. These can be lofted for a small fraction of a moon mission so forgo one moon mission and buy a small fleet of satellites that can pound any known ground force into dust and smoke in the blink of an eye.

    Going to the moon is ego polishing for China, irrespective of the communists who know how old and feeble they are getting and have only been playing for time against their shorter and more violent removal. They know China will become a multi-party democratic nation eventually, but that moon landing with always be a CHINESE event. Everyone who has ruled China back to the first emperor would find pride in it.

    Pride is a powerful motivation and one the west seems to be forgetting in an orgy of nonsensical "the west is responsible for all evil" self-loathing. The Chinese don't loathe themselves or their nation or their people. Neither should we on the other side of the planet loathe ourselves. We've all done some amazing things in a short period of time and have a right to hold our heads up and continue driving forward. Us here in the west AND China in the east. If more people understood that the evil that men do does not make the men inherently evil and unworthy of continuance, we might already have lunar colonies. Instead we sit here on this limited ball of rock crying our beer about the past. We have a future to get on with and we shouldn't throw it away. China isn't.
  • by ashitaka (27544) on Friday November 04, 2005 @09:20PM (#13955110) Homepage
    No, it wasn't [snopes.com].

    I heard it with my own ears when he said it and a thousand times since. There wasn't enough time between "for" and "man" for there to have been an "a". Also the way his diction moves through "for man" differs than that if he had said "for a man" which would have come out more like "fora man". (Say it to yourself a few times)
  • by magarity (164372) on Friday November 04, 2005 @09:22PM (#13955120)
    You've obviously mistaken China for a poor country
     
    Not quite but it's the next best (?) thing. China is a country full of poor people. These space missions are rah-rah points for the leadership to show how great the country is on the world scene so the sustinence farmers making do on $800/year will feel as if their sacrifices are not in vain.
  • by Danathar (267989) on Friday November 04, 2005 @09:31PM (#13955165) Journal
    China has NEVER signed either the Outer Space Treaty of 1967 OR the updated Moon Treaty of 1979.

    If they want to claim it there is no international legal mumbo jumbo to say it's not theirs.
  • Re:Vapor hardware (Score:3, Interesting)

    by amightywind (691887) on Friday November 04, 2005 @10:25PM (#13955373) Journal

    When Kennedy announced the Apollo program he was prepared to develop an enormous rocket (Saturn V) at the outset. The Chinese are clearly taking half measures. Even if the Lander mass was reduced by half it would still take a rocket 4 times as large as the one they are planning to land it on the moon. Nothing in the Shenzhou design suggests that kind of sophistication. Believe Chinese propaganda if you insist, but please don't pretend you are making any sense.

  • by tftp (111690) on Friday November 04, 2005 @11:50PM (#13955777) Homepage
    China is the largest regional power; it was such for thousands of years. All this is well documented. However it was never a global power (=superpower); Emperors just minded their own business and practiced calligraphy. Now is the time to change that. A base on the Moon, armed or not, will be a very strong statement, and China has resources to do that. USA does not have money (all it has is a huge debt to, for example, China...) So USA can compete only if China allows it, in form of investing into more green pieces of paper.
  • by ackthpt (218170) * on Saturday November 05, 2005 @02:46AM (#13956370) Homepage Journal
    Not quite but it's the next best (?) thing. China is a country full of poor people. These space missions are rah-rah points for the leadership to show how great the country is on the world scene so the sustinence farmers making do on $800/year will feel as if their sacrifices are not in vain.

    China had 3 billionaires in 2004, this year they've got 10.

    Adjusting income for cost of living, there's plenty poor people in the USA.

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