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Space United States Moon Government Science Politics

Will China Beat the United States Back to the Moon? 482

Posted by Zonk
from the they'll-make-the-trip-from-the-earth-to-the-moon dept.
MarkWhittington writes "During an address on the space economy to coincide with the fiftieth anniversary of the start of the space age, NASA Administrator Michael Griffin made the assertion that China would beat the United States back to the Moon. 'Americans will not like it, but they will just have to not like it. I think we will see, as we have seen with China's introductory manned space flights so far, we will see again that nations look up to other nations that appear to be at the top of the technical pyramid, and they want to do deals with those nations. It's one of the things that made us the world's greatest economic power. So I think we'll be reinstructed in that lesson in the coming years and I hope that Americans will take that instruction positively and react to it by investing in those things that are the leading edge of what's possible."'"
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Will China Beat the United States Back to the Moon?

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday September 22, 2007 @03:29PM (#20713579)
    Get to the moon? They can't even make toys!
  • by Anonymous Coward
    But I thought we just shot that first landing in a studio!

    Damn conspiracy theorists.
    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by pikine (771084)
      What this means is that China finally has the technology to shoot lunar landing in a studio, beating the US to its next shooting schedule. You know, production cost ain't cheap. NASA is just not as accomplished as Hollywood. Porn industry, on the other hand, might actually beat China to showcase some zero-gravity positions. Wouldn't that be a show!
  • by TomatoMan (93630) on Saturday September 22, 2007 @03:32PM (#20713595) Homepage Journal
    ...they've got all our money.
    • Re:They SHOULD... (Score:5, Informative)

      by wilstrup (726073) on Saturday September 22, 2007 @03:44PM (#20713705)
      Actually Americans have all their money. The US has been running a huge trade deficit for years, and it's all been financed through loans from other countries. China is one of the leading providers of capital on the international market, due to their enormous trade surplus.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday September 22, 2007 @03:33PM (#20713605)
    Cold War ended twenty years ago did it not?
    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by Tango42 (662363)
      It's the War on Terror now - keep up! God knows how a moonbase helps fight terrorists, but then how did Apollo help fight communism? It's just meant to sound good.

      (Yes, I know China is not a terrorist organisation, but it's close enough for the US government to use it as an excuse when convenient - just look at Iraq.)
      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by DaedalusHKX (660194)
        Actually, the irony in this is lost on the majority.

        How did a communally funded waste of money like the space project (apollo, etc) help fight communism?

        So lets rephrase this. Taxes are forcefully appropriated fractions of a man or woman's property or just remuneration (payment) for services or products. Communists say that your labor is not your own, but the state's, and the state can use it to build, spend, destroy, dispose of it in any way it so desires, so long as they can pretend it is "for the good
    • by Seumas (6865) on Saturday September 22, 2007 @04:10PM (#20713909)
      And now it's with China.

      China has shown a great deal of ill-will toward other nations, including America, as well as China's own people. Despite this, we happily build KFCs and Walmart's in their country and contract work and outsource jobs to them for pennies on the dollar. They are coming into their own in the global capitalist market, but without the included democracy of most other nations. This gives them the added benefit of have mass amounts of money and a lot of nimbleness. They don't have to deal with the red tape we do when they want to shift directions or enforce changes to industry.

      We blew our wad last century. Our infrastructures are built and in place and done with. China is just now getting started and will have the benefit of building theirs with a new economy and the technology of the 21st century, instead of the 20th. In our lifetime, they'll probably become the real super-power; trumping the US.
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by jandersen (462034)
        China has shown a great deal of ill-will toward other nations

        How so? Oh, you mean they got unreasonably upset about what the British did to China (Opium wars), and what Japan did before and during WWII - and they totally misunderstood USA's intentions when America's rhetoric was all about 'Rolling Back Communism' and their actions included such things as the wars in Korea and Vietnam? I think they can be excused for thinking that the West wasn't trying to be their friends. And just to remind you - China has
  • by MillionthMonkey (240664) on Saturday September 22, 2007 @03:34PM (#20713607)
    You have to admit, red spaceships are going to be pretty cool.
  • Private space flight (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Tango42 (662363) on Saturday September 22, 2007 @03:34PM (#20713609)
    The thing I'm more interested in is the chance of a private company putting the next person on the Moon. At this point, the only feasible industry is space tourism - there are no fusion reactors for the He-3, after all - but that might be enough. Virgin Galactic are expecting to be doing regular sub-orbital flights within a year or two, soon after that, they or someone else will start of orbital flights. That could be done in 5-10 years, quite easily. Getting from LEO to the Moon is easy compared to getting from the ground to LEO, so I would expect more than a few years for that.

    If a private company tries, they could get to the Moon in 10-15 years, by my estimate, which could easily beat the various government projects (even assuming they stay on schedule, which we all know won't happen). The big question is whether or not any company will see the point in trying. I hope they do...
    • by renoX (11677)
      >The big question is whether or not any company will see the point in trying. I hope they do...

      Well, I wouldn't invest in such company: a huge amount of money to spend without any solid plan to earn money from the trip..
      • by Tango42 (662363)
        Has anyone done any real market research on how much people would be willing to spend on a holiday to the Moon?
        • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

          by Seumas (6865)
          Since Branson and Virgin have spent millions of dollars to invest in their planned orbital trips and space hotels (in the very near future), I would presume they have done a great deal of such market research. Personally, I would not take such a space trip, because - like evolution - gravity is "only a theory". I wouldn't want to be up there in my space hotel and have it plummet back down to the earth! Not to mention, since the earth is flat, I would be worried we'd miss the edge of it on our return and be
    • by Baldrson (78598) *
      See my response [slashdot.org].
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by vrmlguy (120854)

      Virgin Galactic are expecting to be doing regular sub-orbital flights within a year or two, soon after that, they or someone else will start of orbital flights. That could be done in 5-10 years, quite easily. Getting from LEO to the Moon is easy compared to getting from the ground to LEO, so I would expect more than a few years for that.

      I'm not sure what you mean by your last sentence, however I'm more interested in your second one. The article "Suborbital spaceflight: a road to orbit or a dead end? [thespacereview.com]" discusses how much harder LEO is than sub-orbital. "If you accelerate in a vehicle straight up and reach Mach 5 or so, you can coast up to X Prize territory and cross the generally accepted threshold of space. However, you will immediately fall back to earth like a dropped cannon ball. Staying in space requires that you also accelerate to a

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by Tango42 (662363)
        Sub-orbital vehicles are not a particularly useful stepping stone towards orbital vehicles from an engineering standpoint, certainly, but from a business standpoint, it's very useful. Along with the sub-orbital vehicles being developed, there's a spaceport, various legislation, lots of research on what people want out of space travel, and, soon, a source of income. All of those will greatly help in the development of orbital vehicles.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by GreggBz (777373)
      Private space enterprise has not even matched Yuri yet. Not even close. The Russians poured money into the space race just to determine that a manned moon landing was not even realistic.

      We tried very hard. It took 10 years (starting with Mercury / Gemini etc..) with the involvement of 400,000 [amazon.com] people in Apollo on what was basically an initiative mandated by the president. Dozens of the best and most advanced private aerospace companies were funded by lucrative government contracts to the tune of about 19 bil
      • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

        by Tango42 (662363)
        Two things significantly reduce the cost: We're not starting from scratch this time. A lot of the development work has already been done and the costs absorbed in other space missions and non-space inventions. Secondly, the reduction in bureaucracy.
      • Ok, here you go. (Score:4, Interesting)

        by WindBourne (631190) on Saturday September 22, 2007 @09:40PM (#20716219) Journal
        1. In 1959, we had no real knowledge of rocketry. The billions that were spent was about learning what worked and more importantly, what did not work.
        2. In 1959, and in fact, in 1969, there was no market for commercial rocketry. All the sats that we had put up in the sky by 1970, is less than how may go up every year, currently. Now, there are not enough rockets to take on the load.
        3. Spacex has done 2 shots; the first was a major failure (it went boom). The second was a lot more interesting. The first stage registered an issue prior to launch, so the team drained and refuelded with warmer fuel (and in 20 minutes). They launched. The first stage was a total success. The second stage lost is fuel just at the end due to lack of baffles in the tank. All in all, they are fixing it and expect (hope?) the next flight to have no more issues.
        4. Spacex will be profitable by 2010 if the next flight works as well as falcon 9. They will have paid off ALL of their development cost by then.
        5. Bigelow has already launched 2 space stations. Yes, nobody is on them (nor will ever be). By 2009 or 2010, they will launch a 3 man space station. By 2011, they will launch a 6 person space station. By 2013, they will have multiple space stations in orbit. There goal is not to provide for hotels (but they will), but to provide space stations to nations. I expect that they probably extend the ISS with their 3 person unit and then later with the 6 person unit. Why? Because nations will want to take advantage of a an orbiting station. That means that EU, Japan, Brazil, India, Russia, USA, and private enterprise will be able to test equipment and get their launch system perfected.
        6. Spacex is looking at building a BFR by 2014. If they do, they will have re-invented roughly the same capability that USA had in the 1970 time frame, though this time it should be quite a bit cheaper.
        No, this will be easy for companies to be profitable from the git-go.
  • That's alright (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Dr. Eggman (932300) on Saturday September 22, 2007 @03:34PM (#20713615)
    We can still claim a victory, even if our government gets beaten getting back to the moon. All we have to do is be the first nation with a private space industry to land on the moon, that's way cooler than having a government land there. We may need a 'permit to land on the moon,' but can you imagine what sort of permits a private company in China would need to land on the moon?
    • by pizpot (622748)
      just fire up an appolo and giver gas. seems like r & d was done on this. was it bullshit or something?
      • (Note: The following post was written without reguards to whether the parent was serious or not.)

        I wish it was that easy, but a lot that stuff isn't exactly in tip top launch shape. Launch veichles aren't exactly like a 50's era car you can just fire up in the 2000's (and, like any Slashdot car analogy, it's also an incredible simplification of the car mechanics.) Plus we gotta remember that this was quite a while ago, a lot of the people who worked on getting us there are retired or even gone. There's a
        • by rucs_hack (784150)
          The US effectively turned its back on manned lander missions decades ago. Mind you, its hard to argue that they haven't done rather well in the meantime.

          Until relatively recently there wasn't much reason to go back to the moon with people, we have decent robots, they could be used to great effect. Now we know for sure there's water there we have the incentive, and China have made the first move. there's no certainty they will succeed. They may have the unfortunate distintion of having the first humans die t
          • I'm a little confused by your post. You say until recently there wasn't any incentive to go back, but evidence of water (or being able to make water) is enough to bring us back. I was prepared to argue with this, as I can't see that being much incentive, and then you confused me by pointing out several good reasons that the moon is a crappy place to build a base.

            I don't see the point of a moon base at all. Launching Mars missions from orbit makes far more sense than any moon base does. (Robert Zubrin has ex
    • A million dollars in unmarked bills?
  • by 140Mandak262Jamuna (970587) on Saturday September 22, 2007 @03:35PM (#20713627) Journal
    I don't know if China would really beat us in the back to the moon race, but if it does, it would have a very positive impact on America. After the end of cold war, America has become somewhat lethargic. If this serves to unify behind some kind of scientific goal, it would really be great.
  • by mind21_98 (18647) on Saturday September 22, 2007 @03:36PM (#20713631) Homepage Journal
    Mostly only innovating when they're threatened... (see: US manned space program after the Soviets sent someone into Earth orbit)

    ...and bullying everyone else in the meantime.
  • Who Cares? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by moehoward (668736) on Saturday September 22, 2007 @03:40PM (#20713661)

    We got first post! I mean on the moon, not Slashdot.

    We went there and there was nothing there. Just pride and Cold War points. Me? Loved it. Still recall watching the launches and Apollo 13 as a youngster. I was so into it as a 6-10 year-old. Definitely made a huge impact on the direction of my life.

    While we Slashdotters often mock "If they can put a man on the moon...", there really is something to that. Look at the technology at that time. Look at the mission and the time frame. Amazing stuff. The politicians (mostly) kept their noses out. Even more amazing...

    I don't want us to go back on tax bucks. I don't want another stupid political race, this time with China. I want the private sector to make money in space. We went there for the glory, let's go back for cash. I honestly mean it. If there is a return to be made, let's have the private sector do it, and let's give incentives for that.

    • by Tango42 (662363)
      It was a politician that told NASA to put a man on the moon by the end of the decade. That's as much as any politician sticks their nose in. The difference is in actually giving the funds necessary to do the job.
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by p0tat03 (985078)
      We got far more from the moon landings than just bragging rights. The government funded research created much of the tehnological economy we enjoy today. I would support a new space race for this very reason. It's been too long since the US invested heavily in basic research.
  • Who's the daddy? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Colin Smith (2679) on Saturday September 22, 2007 @03:41PM (#20713675)
    "In a carefully stage-managed meeting in Beijing with a senior Chinese official, which, unusually, was open to the media, Thomas Debrowski, Mattel's executive vice-president for worldwide operations, read out a prepared text that played down the role of Chinese factories in the recalls."

    http://www.ft.com/cms/s/99b42156-683a-11dc-b475-0000779fd2ac,dwp_uuid=9c33700c-4c86-11da-89df-0000779e2340,Authorised=false.html?_i_location=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.ft.com%2Fcms%2Fs%2F99b42156-683a-11dc-b475-0000779fd2ac%2Cdwp_uuid%3D9c33700c-4c86-11da-89df-0000779e2340.html [ft.com]

    So... Who needs who more?

    Yeah, China will be on the moon before the USA.
     
    • You're right, Mattel does need China more than China needs Mattel. Excellent detective work.

      In a very, VERY short-term sense, the US is beholden to cheap goods from China, but the very nature of the things we get from China means that retooling elsewhere isn't exactly difficult -- whereas China would have one hell of a time finding another America to provide all those juicy, juicy manufacturing contracts. I'm not saying it would be pleasant for either side, but in the long run the US would come out well ahe
  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday September 22, 2007 @03:43PM (#20713699)
    What, is the moon race a "do over"?

    We go there in 1969, period, dot.

    China beating us back is a false challenge. It would be like if the Soviet Union had landed a man on the moon in September of 1969 and claimed it "beat us back" to the moon because they got there before Apollo 12.
    • by OS24Ever (245667) *
      First thing I thought of when I saw the title of the article. How do you 'beat' us when we did it almost 40 years ago? Now, I'd like the competition because maybe it'd wake up a few people but to be honest we need to spend some money in a few other places and fix a few other things over here before we hire a bunch of H1B folks to get us back to the moon.
  • By my calculation, by the time the Chinese make it to the moon for the first time, we'll have already been back to the moon five times. Been there, done that, brought back rocks.

    Of course, it's a question who will be the first to get back the sixth time.

  • by Baldrson (78598) * on Saturday September 22, 2007 @03:44PM (#20713715) Homepage Journal
    NASA's budget for 2007 was $16.8 billion. The Google Lunar X-Prize is $0.030 billion with a duration of 5 years. Assuming NASA budget remains approximately the same that means NASA's budget could renewably fund the equivalent of 2800 Google Lunar X-Prizes.
    • by Tango42 (662363)
      True, but the X-Prize isn't intended to *fund* anything, it's just a reward if you succeed. And about $16.7 billion of NASA's budget goes on moving paper around - that doesn't help.
      • Riddle me this... (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Baldrson (78598) *
        Who is going to be better at risk management inherent in technology development: Someone who is spending their own money or someone who is spending other people's money?
        • by Tango42 (662363)
          Depends on your definition of "better". Someone spending their own money will be more cautious, that's not necessarily better, though.
    • most of NASA's budget goes to the Stargate program.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by TheRaven64 (641858)
      To put the $30m prize in perspective, launching the shuttle costs around $450m, and launching a Saturn V cost around $430m in 1967. The prize is likely to be less than 10% of the launch cost. Unlike the suborbital X-Prize, there is no real prospect of commercial exploitation either.
  • Big Deal (Score:5, Insightful)

    by skam240 (789197) on Saturday September 22, 2007 @03:46PM (#20713723)
    The question we all need to ask is why do we even need to go back? We're not building moon bases anytime in the near future and extracting resources is way to expensive for the foreseeable future.

    Some one please tell me what possible reason we would have for even wanting to waste billions of dollars on another trip to the moon for. It's a big floating rock.
    • Morale and propaganda.

      Not everything has a huge main objective behind it, but if you can say something impressive like "we went to the moon last week" you can get your name out there and get more funding and resources. People feel they are doing something now and not grinding away at an objective decades away.

      Sure it's expensive, but think how much power it wields when you can go "we need ten billion for a new spoon.. yes a space spoon", it will go over better if you're going into Space and not just plannin
      • by skam240 (789197)
        My point is I don't think anyone would care about another trip to the moon. We did it over half a century ago, multiple times. I can see more impressive space flight at the theater nowadays.
        • by DrWho520 (655973)
          The novelty had already worn off by Apollo 13. They were not getting network coverage until the near disaster.

          You know why we went to the moon? To prove we could drop a ballistic missile on anyone's back door using ballistics technology developed from the technology captured from Germany after WWII. You know why the Chinese want to go? To prove they can do the same thing with the technology they developed from the technology they bought from Slick Willy.
          • by skam240 (789197)
            While I'm not even sure how what you're saying applies to what I said before I will say that we already know that they have ballistic missiles and have known this for decades.

            Plus your "Slick Willy" nickname for Clinton is about as clever and overused as "Dubya" for Bush.

    • by legirons (809082)
      "The question we all need to ask is why do we even need to go back?"

      To prove that you can?

      Are you an engineering nation, or a flop?

      Will you get the high-tech contracts, or the easy ones?
      • by skam240 (789197)
        So China is going to be able to do what we did over a half century ago, who cares? If you want us to do something inspirational then we should go to Mars. Moon trips aren't going to interest anyone. They're old hat. At least we might learn something new on a trip to Mars.
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Grishnakh (216268)
        To prove that you can?

        Are you an engineering nation, or a flop?


        Exactly.

        Do you want to be an advanced country that does bold, huge engineering megaprojects that push the envelope of technology and what humankind can do, or do you want to be like Mexico, where people just sit around doing nothing useful all the time and never accomplish anything noteworthy?

        I'd rather be the former, but it appears many of my countrymen would rather be like the latter, and some actually want to join our country with Mexico so w
    • Re:Big Deal or two (Score:4, Insightful)

      by wmorrow (16909) on Saturday September 22, 2007 @04:24PM (#20714005) Homepage
      Just one? Pick your favorite:
      * astronomy unfettered by an atmosphere and complexities of zero-G environment
      * unlimited vacuum and little concern for pollution for industrial processes
      * lots of sunshine for power generation
      * tourism

      There's longer term, and more altruistic goals as well, like getting our eggs out of one basket.

      I'm imagining you looking out at the ocean from the beach, and saying "why go sailing? There's water in my bathtub."
      • by skam240 (789197)
        Right now all a trip to the Moon will get us is a bunch of guys walking around looking at stuff that Americans saw over 50 years ago. None of the things you're talking about are going to happen on the moon for at least 20 years (and I think that's a very conservative estimate), especially anything like manufacturing, so why go back now?

        There seems to be an awful lot of concern over pushing forward boldly into the future involved in this but the only relevant rationnels for going right now I'm seeing is to b
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by deblau (68023)

      Some one please tell me what possible reason we would have for even wanting to waste billions of dollars on another trip to the moon
      The most important reason: because it's there. Why do so many people try to climb Everest every year? After all, we've already climbed it...

      If we don't continue to challenge ourselves socially, artistically, technologically, we stagnate. Then we crumble. That's why.

    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by Iron Condor (964856)

      The question we all need to ask is why do we even need to go back?

      First we let the Chinese go there. They'll be bringing a lot of paint and they'll be painting the whole thing red.

      When they're finished, we'll land some guys with a couple buckets of white paint. They'll write on the red moon "Coca Cola".

  • by tjstork (137384) <(todd.bandrowsky) (at) (gmail.com)> on Saturday September 22, 2007 @03:46PM (#20713725) Homepage Journal
    I think the USA needs to invest big time in nuclear rockets, and at the same time, wrap up its Constellation program.
  • by xednieht (1117791) on Saturday September 22, 2007 @03:48PM (#20713739) Homepage
    They don't have to calculate everything in metric AND our system.
  • by Smight (1099639) <soulgrindsb@g m a i l .com> on Saturday September 22, 2007 @03:52PM (#20713781)
    Doesn't China have to get to the moon on seven different occasions if they want to beat the US back?
  • FTA: "So I think we'll be reinstructed in that lesson in the coming years and I hope that Americans will take that instruction positively and react to it by investing in those things that are the leading edge of what's possible."

    I do not believe the American public is responsible for the current state of the US space program.

    Billion dollar Boondoggles, gross incompetence, mismanagement, lack of Gov't funding, and political posturing.

    These are the things that have brought the US space program to gro

  • by WindBourne (631190) on Saturday September 22, 2007 @03:53PM (#20713787) Journal
    But the West will be on the moon by 2015 with private enterprise. The only way that china will be there sooner than that is to team up with Russia, which is a remote possibility (though it is a possibility). I agree with his comments about America and our technical proweness. Our leaders (both gov and business) have been shipping it foolishly overseas, in particular to china. That is going to come at a VERY high price. The sad thing is that by the time that American fully realize that our feds have cut far too much into research (during reagan's time it was cut in half; in W's time, it was cut again), we will also be in extreme debt (we all ready are) AND have lost the very business that made it possible in the first place.
  • one giant leap for cheaply built products with the sticker saying "Made in Moon"
  • Hey, a new space race sounds like a great way to drive up the market price of engineers and industrial product, with both the US and Chinese space programs trying to outbid each other for the same Chinese technical staff and factories.
  • Let's set the location of the 2050 Olympics to Tranquility Base. Any nations who want to participate had better start working out their transportation now. Also, kiss goodbye any existing records in high-jump, long jump, javelin, etc.
  • by WindowlessView (703773) on Saturday September 22, 2007 @04:19PM (#20713963)

    Great. Now we have to worry about deadly moon microbes in the pet food and toys.

  • by damneinstien (939730) on Saturday September 22, 2007 @04:25PM (#20714013)

    NASA, and the United States in general, can see no benefit in a manned mission to the moon without a specific purpose. Seriously, what would be the point? To show that the U.S. can do it? Well, the U.S. already has, wayback in 1969.

    What NASA is more interested in at the moment is the possibility of using the moon as a launching point for missions to Mars; perhaps building a lunar base of some kind and also to explore the moon and Mars using automated methods. Just look at the NASA SBIR (Small Business Innovation Research) requirements http://sbir.gsfc.nasa.gov/SBIR/sbirsttr2007/solicitation/Chapter_912.html [nasa.gov] and look at the topics. Exploration systems and space operations are a huge topic of interest, far surpassing any need for a current manned mission.

    (Disclosure: The author worked recently on a NASA SBIR Grant under the Exploration Systems category.)

  • ...All together now! SING! http://www.rathergood.com/moon_song/ [rathergood.com]
  • by amightywind (691887) on Saturday September 22, 2007 @05:45PM (#20714713) Journal

    This Griffin surely and funding ploy for NASA. The facts suggest China's program is grossly overrated.

    • China has never developed a spacecraft from scratch. They modified a Soyuz.
    • Thay have never developed anything larger than a 10ton launcher, the Long March, which is also similar to a Soyuz They will need a rocket 10x as large to land on the moon.
    • They have launched two times since 2003. Their next mission is not planned until fall 2008. Between 1963 and 1968 America developed Apollo and flew around the moon
    • They are way behind Japan which has just launched an ambitious moon mission, Selene.
    • The US has a highly credible architecture for moon missions in Ares I & V and Orion. The vehicles are being built of existing parts.
    • The US has the experience developing,launching, and assembling the 1,000,000lb ISS
    • The US has >10x China's space budget for the foreseeable future

    Based on the facts how can you conclude that China will get there first? Indeed, it is not clear that they will beat Japan as the leader in Asian spaceflight.

    • by Comatose51 (687974) on Saturday September 22, 2007 @08:50PM (#20715951) Homepage
      You're wrong on two accounts. Long March is indigenously developed. Also, the US having a space budget with more dollars doesn't translate into 10x the resources. You have to consider price parity. What I mean is that China doesn't pay dollar to its workers and things are cheaper over there. If you only use the exchange rate to compare the budgets you won't get a fair comparison. You have to find the relative cost of products in each country, which is how price parity came about. Once you take that into account the difference is not nearly as great as you think.

      More importantly, I don't know why people bother posting things like that. It doesn't nothing but soothe our pride. Either we make it our goal to return to the moon before the Chinese or just shrug it off and say we've already done it in the 60s. If we're are going to go to return, then let's take the Chinese seriously and put some real effort into it. The worst thing for us to do is to put in a half ass effort and waste resources.
  • by jpellino (202698) on Saturday September 22, 2007 @07:29PM (#20715511)
    Being first and being beaten out for second?

    Griffin is just trolling for a patriotic boost.

  • It's China's century (Score:5, Interesting)

    by SiliconEntity (448450) on Saturday September 22, 2007 @09:02PM (#20716009)
    The 21st century will be China's turn to be the world leader. All the talk and excuses we see here from Americans about how they don't care if China does beat us back to the moon is very much like what other countries said as they changed from being 1st rate to 2nd rate. Spain has had its turn, England, and now the U.S. is moving into China's eclipse. And of course we Americans will be able to lie to ourselves for quite a while that we're still the best "where it counts", just like the English and French and Spanish and all the others that were once great.

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