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Space Science

China Launches First Moon Orbiter 171

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the do-chinese-robots-need-tang dept.
hey0you0guy writes "China has launched its first lunar orbiter, on a planned year-long exploration mission to the Moon. Analysts say it is a key step towards China's aim of putting a man on the Moon by 2020, in the latest stage of an Asian space race with Japan and India. Earlier this month, a Japanese lunar probe entered orbit around the Moon. India is planning a lunar mission for April next year."
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China Launches First Moon Orbiter

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  • Space Superiority (Score:5, Insightful)

    by downix (84795) on Wednesday October 24, 2007 @12:03PM (#21100943) Homepage
    The United States has been slipping on the technology front, and this is another outwardly visible sign of that. If it does not turn itself around and fast, forgetting this political chess game it tries with the world, it will be left behind and forgotten, another empire whose time had come and gone.
    • by Farakin (1101889)
      The Simpson's already did it? Seriously, what is the fascination with the moon? I guess in China's defense unless they make a Louisiana Purchase sized purchase from Russia they need somewhere to put 1.3 billion people.
      • by nschubach (922175) on Wednesday October 24, 2007 @12:57PM (#21101735) Journal
        It's not just the moon. If we spent half the money we spent in Iraq on research, we may all be driving fuel efficient vehicles in a few years. Don't get me wrong, I support the guys overseas for getting into a tank and doing what's requested of them, but with leadership like this?

        All I'm saying is that we in America could be enjoying richer lives due to technological advances instead of economic decline. Education, Research, and service. That's the next step from industrial progress. We are unfortunately, thanks in part to unions, stuck in the oil that's keeping us from progressing beyond making cars with manual labor.
        • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

          by BlackSmithNZ (1064822)
          It's not the money spent on Iraq or anywhere else. You could all be driving fuel efficient vehicles right now without waiting for a few years, if Americans simply made a choice to buy a more fuel efficient car when they buy. The don't; the market for some strange reason penis enhancement chooses to buy inefficient SUV's or 5.8 liter cars rather than 2 litre cars that do the same job. You don't need any research to make a family sized car that is safe, fast, seats 5 and gets 30+ mpg or smaller cars that ge
          • You could all be driving fuel efficient vehicles right now without waiting for a few years, if Americans simply made a choice to buy a more fuel efficient car when they buy. The don't; the market for some strange reason penis enhancement chooses to buy inefficient SUV's or 5.8 liter cars rather than 2 litre cars that do the same job.

            Since the job is 'get me, and only me, 24 miles to work in the morning and 24 miles home in the evening', I drive a 1.3 litre car.

            My fuel economy is slightly impaired by the

      • by cayenne8 (626475)
        "The Simpson's already did it? Seriously, what is the fascination with the moon?"

        Actually I see it as a grand experiment into finding out what needs to be established first before man can comfortable occupy a place.....Chinese restaurants, sushi houses, or the Quickie Mart.

      • Helium 3 could solve the worlds energy problems, the only place to get it is the moon.

        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Helium-3 [wikipedia.org]

        If China could be in a position to sell He3 to the USA they'd be far richer than the oil magnates.

        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by camperdave (969942)
          Helium 3 could solve the worlds energy problems, the only place to get it is the moon.

          That would be fascinating if it were true. First of all, we do not have any He3 fusion reactors, especially not on the scale that commercial power generation requires. Second, to supply the US with its power needs would require 15-20 tonnes of He3 per year. To power the world, you'd need, say, 100 tonnes per year (note: this is just electrical power, not fuel in general. You'd still need gas for cars, diesel fuel fo
    • by stox (131684) on Wednesday October 24, 2007 @12:07PM (#21100995) Homepage
      So the Chinese have caught up to where we were in 1961. I'm not too worried, yet.
      • by mikelieman (35628) on Wednesday October 24, 2007 @12:13PM (#21101081) Homepage
        Worry.

        I was discussing this with an engineer friend. Let's say we wanted to get back into the race? Simple enough, you just dust off the plans for the Saturn V, setup the tooling, and...

        Oh, shit... Not only don't we have the tooling, but we don't even have enough kids trained in running a drafting pencil to design the tooling. WE WOULD HAVE TO OUTSOURCE THE DESIGN AND FABRICATION TO --- Yup. Asia.

        The only way Americans are going to get out into the wide-universe is as Contract Labor.

        Some would consider it a national security issue, some would say it involves the long-term survival of humanity.

        Whatever, combined with space-based solar/beamed microwave, there's a solution to 2 problems with one project. Build the orbital satellite factory and you have the infrastructure to get anywhere.

        Dicking around with the ISS ain't the way to do it, folks. Don't send astronauts, send mechanical engineers, laborers, and parts.

        • Re:Space Superiority (Score:5, Informative)

          by MightyYar (622222) on Wednesday October 24, 2007 @12:21PM (#21101203)
          I think that you are a bit out of the loop! We are in fact designing a system of rockets designed to deliver us to the moon once again. They are largely based on existing hardware that is being built today in the USA. Much of it shuttle derivatives, but also some older stuff - like some engines that trace their roots back to Apollo.

          Check out Project Constellation [wikipedia.org].

          Compared to NASA's aborted shuttle replacements, this project is pretty low-risk and has a high likelihood of success.

          Sending an unmanned probe around the moon is cool, and I'm happy to see Asia exploring space... but it is a far cry from sending men there.
          • by p0tat03 (985078) on Wednesday October 24, 2007 @01:01PM (#21101789)

            The problem isn't so much Asia sending probes to the moon (or even men, for that matter), it's that these countries have demonstrated a willingness and ability to pour a significant chunk of their national consciousness to science and engineering, and we do not. This doesn't just apply to the space race, but also everything else we research. My brother is working on his Ph.D in evolutionary biology, and he elected to stay in Canada for his schooling, despite originally intending to go to the US. Why? Because many of the top researchers in his field have been lured away to other countries in recent years (including Canada), mostly owing to the fact that the Bush administration has been sabotaging the funding to their particular field of research (I wonder why?).

            I myself am in engineering and I can see this effect also. I have had the pleasure to study under, and work with, many exceptionally skilled engineers, and while it once was the holy grail to teach and work in the USA, I find that most of my professors no longer have that wish, and in fact many adamantly stay out of the US. Many of them are Muslim, go figure.

            • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

              by the_arrow (171557)
              You made me think about this a little... Almost all scientific breakthroughs in the last century came because of war: The two world wars, the cold war and the space race (technically part of the cold war.) Currently there are really no such war or race going on, at least not until the Asian countries starts to send probes to Mars.

              Actually, I say to hell with people on the moon! Instead I think it would be much better to create a manned space station orbiting the moon instead, and use it as a "shipyard" and
              • by MightyYar (622222)
                I think you might be on to something... If you want to search for intelligent life, just start sending random nuclear weapons out - program them to hit planets likely to support life.

                If there's intelligent life out there, it'll come to US!
        • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

          by Weasel5053 (910174)
          So you're saying that the design and manufacturer of Ares V http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ares_V [wikipedia.org] has been outsourced to Asia? Please cite your sources.
          • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

            by east coast (590680)
            Yeah, a lot of what the previous poster has to say reminds me a lot of the fallacy that modern man couldn't build the pyramids...

            People would be extremely naive to think that we have come so far but somehow lost the ability to do what we did 40+ years ago. No great knowledge was lost. No ability to produce the materials were lost. Public interest in the space race is what was lost.
        • by jay-be-em (664602)
          Beyond the fact that your engineering friend is apparently not aware of current developments
          at NASA, would a new system really be designed with pencil/paper drafting? Is your friend
          also unaware of the advances in CAD in the last 40 years? It seems to me that CAD is a lot
          more practical as it can integrate with [astro|aero]dynamics testing software and such.
          • by mikelieman (35628)
            The point is the current crop of high school kids/community college kids, don't have the mechanical drawing skills and training to deliver.

        • by Coryoth (254751)

          Build the orbital satellite factory and you have the infrastructure to get anywhere.

          Err, you've lost me. Why would we want that exactly? To build a satellite you need raw materials. Raw materials to make satellites don't, generally, exist in orbit. That means you need to ship the raw materials to your satellite factory in orbit. Now if we're shipping those raw materials up from earth... explain to me why we'd want to do that again? Why not leave the raw materials down here until the been processed put together into a satellite, since ultimately you're going to have waste material in such

          • by MightyYar (622222)
            The answer is simple: Volume [youtube.com]
          • There are advantages to doing some construction work in space, mainly that you don't have to design stuff to survive storage on earth then a launch then conditions in space. Also there is the issue that some projects may need more than a single booster can lift.

            The real problem is that switching between orbits can often take as much delta-v as going from the ground and the more delta-v you use in a mission the harder it is to add more so any construction station would be limited to particular types of missi
        • Hmmm. (Score:3, Informative)

          by WindBourne (631190)
          First off, there are no plans for the saturn. In fact, NASA had to go study one of the spares sometime ago to figure things out. Secondly, your engineering friend is clueless. We have the ability to fab currently. We do a lot of it. What we do not do, is cheap fabing. For that, you go elsewhere. But rockets are NOT built on cheap fabs. They are built on high quality machines. And as to an inability to build it, well, I suggest you go look at scaled composites, Spacex, spacedev, armadillo, and even new shep
          • First off, there are no plans for the saturn.

            That's a common myth. It's also wrong, as we *do* have the plans for the Saturn.
            • No, it really is true. The problem with projects like that, is that we have blueprints, but they typically were not quit correct. When practice takes over, parts are adjusted. IOW, the builder becomes part of the plan, and rarely is that fed back to the blueprints. So what would happen is that from the current plans, we build the parts, then try to assemble them. We would find that they do not work quite right, so go back and re-build with slight differences. You will find that lots of projects that are ol
              • Wow. Just wow. That has to be one of the most nonsensical and logic free posts I've ever read.
        • I was discussing this with an engineer friend. Let's say we wanted to get back into the race? Simple enough, you just dust off the plans for the Saturn V, setup the tooling, and...

          Oh, shit... Not only don't we have the tooling, but we don't even have enough kids trained in running a drafting pencil to design the tooling. WE WOULD HAVE TO OUTSOURCE THE DESIGN AND FABRICATION TO --- Yup. Asia.

          Neither you, nor your engineering friend know what you are talking about.

          Other posters have mentioned

      • So the Chinese have caught up to where we were in 1961.

        Yeah. And it's only taken them 800 years.
    • Yeah, we're falling behind [nasa.gov].

      China? Yawn...
    • by shawn(at)fsu (447153) on Wednesday October 24, 2007 @12:12PM (#21101065) Homepage
      and this is another outwardly visible sign of that.
      I'm not sure you can draw a connection between us not going back to the moon in 30 plus years and saying thats a sign of our slipping in the technology race. Since the space race Russia and the US have kept people in orbit for months and in one case 748 days. The US has sent some pretty advanced probes to MARS and beyond. Saturn Comets the Sun, some great telescopes the list goes on. We are doing some advanced stuff To tweek the quote by JFK: We chose to go to the moon now we are doing those other things becuase they are hard.
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Weasel5053 (910174)
      This has nothing to do with technology. The US achieved this in 1966 with Surveyor 1. This is about political will.
    • by LWATCDR (28044)
      What?
      Gee what about this Lunar orbiter? http://nssdc.gsfc.nasa.gov/planetary/lunar/lunarorb.html [nasa.gov]
      Take a look at the date.
      Yea it was 40 years ago.
      Your right it isn't like the US has done anything recently. Like say a mission to the asteroid belt http://nssdc.gsfc.nasa.gov/database/MasterCatalog?sc=2007-043A [nasa.gov]
      Or a fly by of Mercury http://nssdc.gsfc.nasa.gov/database/MasterCatalog?sc=2004-030A [nasa.gov]
      Or a mission to Pluto...
      But what about the moon?
      Well there was at least two missions to the moon in the 1990s Clementine
    • No we are not. (Score:4, Insightful)

      by Shivetya (243324) on Wednesday October 24, 2007 @12:28PM (#21101305) Homepage Journal
      Just who do you think explores the planets? The United States isn't losing space superiority, the US's focus is different. The US and Russians have been there, done that, all before. Now is the time for the new kids on the block to earn their wings. Thank goodness they are focusing on national pride through space exploration rather than warfare.

      The US has plans to go back to the moon but support for the "current" Adminstration doing it is not high. We finally have seen the Shuttle given a real end of life which honestly, to me at least, was holding back the whole manned project in the first place. KISS.

      Yeah there is a danger we could lose our superiority, but now that we have challengers that is less likely.
    • define "technology" (Score:3, Informative)

      by Quadraginta (902985)
      Oh I don't know about that. Seems to me the Chinese are merely proving they can do in 2007 what the Americans and Soviets did in 1966. Indeed, the Chinese are having it way easier, since (1) they don't have to invent the ideas and technology, it already exists, and (2) one of the biggest problems in early space shots was the immense amount of calculation that couldn't be done quickly and in a small machine. That problem has been solved by the development of microprocessors.

      Furthermore, you're overlooking
    • Heh. With our economy heading the way it is, who is surprised?

      The USSR could not, in the end, compete with the US in the space race because their economy could not support it.

      Currently, we're still the leader, but the technology gap is shrinking -- a lot of this is due to where we choose to focus our resources, but how long until, like the USSR, we don't have the economy to compete? How many decades is the US from being in the same unenviable position?
    • by SIIHP (1128921)
      "The United States has been slipping on the technology front, and this is another outwardly visible sign of that."

      How does China planning to do something FIFTY YEARS after we did it show we're slipping on the technology front?

      You may be right, but I don't see this as demonstrating what you claim at all.
      • by gstoddart (321705) on Wednesday October 24, 2007 @04:02PM (#21104347) Homepage

        "The United States has been slipping on the technology front, and this is another outwardly visible sign of that."

        How does China planning to do something FIFTY YEARS after we did it show we're slipping on the technology front?

        Well, if you could do something 40 or 50 years ago, and you can't do it now, that, by definition is slipping. Meaning, you've fallen behind where you used to be relative to everyone else (or, even yourselves at the time).

        The fact that America simply could not launch something today, this week, this month, this year, or quite possibly within the next three years which would get them to the moon means that -- at this precise moment -- you are behind China and Japan in terms of actually possessing the technology. Someone else has technology which you only theoretically possess. But, they've got one that's actually working, and either in orbit or in transit to orbit around the moon. You have 50 year old designs that haven't been revisited since, and that nobody has any working experience with the manufacture of. I own a physics textbook, but that doesn't mean I have any technology -- it means I have the theory.

        If something were designed and ready to be built, does the US currently have the manufacturing capacity to make all of the components? Can all of the circuitry and stuff like that be made in country? Or would you have to farm it out to China and other countries where all of this stuff is currently built? If any components in the chain would need to be farmed out, you simply don't have the capacity to make it. And, either due to cost or lack of capacity, you'll note that most consumer electronics aren't actually made in the US.

        Unfortunately, over the last few decades, so much American industrial fabrication has been moved out to cheaper locales, there's little left. The companies and systems which used to support the space program are now focusing on other things, or gone completely. Sure, Boeing can probably still do neat things, but you have neither the political will nor the money to make it happen right now. And, it would take time to ramp up and achieve this.

        Not continuing to advance when everyone else is catching up and possibly passing you is slipping. China has a huge internal manufacturing capability, a tremendous workforce they can leverage, and whole truckload of foreign currency to buy what they need. That, and they can jujst steam roll over their people to achieve their goals once they set their sights on it.

        As Lev said in Armageddon --- "Russian Components, American Components ... All made in Taiwan!!"

        What you did 50 years ago isn't indicative of what you could pull off today; which, I fear, would be way less than you did back then. That, unfortunately, is why it seems that the US is slipping in this field.

        Cheers
        • The fact that America simply could not launch something today, this week, this month, this year, or quite possibly within the next three years which would get them to the moon means that -- at this precise moment -- you are behind China and Japan in terms of actually possessing the technology. China's largest rocket will lift 12000KG to LEO [wikipedia.org] Delta 4 will take 25,800 kg to LEO. [wikipedia.org] Not really certain how you figure that America is behind Japan or China in tech? We have a space station in orbit. We regularly spac
        • "Well, if you could do something 40 or 50 years ago, and you can't do it now, that, by definition is slipping."

          Fair enough. How about if you could do it 10 years ago?

          NASA's Lunar Prospector [nasa.gov] launched in early 1998 (so a little less than ten years ago today). Are you saying there is no way we could send a satellite to the moon like we did 10 years ago?
        • The fact that America simply could not launch something today, this week, this month, this year, or quite possibly within the next three years which would get them to the moon means that -- at this precise moment -- you are behind China and Japan in terms of actually possessing the technology.

          Then, by your own definition, we aren't behind. Because we do have that capability - and more. Or have you not noticed that not one but _two_ US commercial operations offer launchers off the shelf with the capabilit

    • by SQL Error (16383) on Wednesday October 24, 2007 @12:57PM (#21101723)
      China has launched a lunar orbiter, something the US achieved decades ago.

      Meanwhile, the US launched another Mars lander in August and a mission to the asteroids Ceres and Vesta in September.
    • The USA may be the dominant 'empire' (or world power if you prefer) now but at some point it's very likely it will decline, maybe 5 years, 50 or 500 years from now. History seems to show that dominant powers tend to come and go.

      Don't get too upset, accept that this will happen, and spend some time ensuring that the current minor powers who may influence authority over you in years to come will look upon you fondly when they are in the ascendency. I think that would be a valuable lesson to learn from other c
    • by Touvan (868256)
      It isn't the technology front slipping, it's public investment that's slipping. While the United States continues to harp on the benefits of the (cleverly, and inaccurately termed) "free market", its being left out of the benefits of effective national investment. This includes industry specific unprofitable scientific investment - like exploring space, or medical research (like keeping up with biology with antibiotics - pharmaceutical companies don't do that research), but also includes investment in infor
    • by DrBuzzo (913503)
      I partially agree. The US is in trouble of loosing it's place as the one true superpower. However there's a difference between "not as important" and "empire who's time has come and gone." Brittan was the super power of the 1800's. They're no longer really an empire and not a superpower, but they're still a significant power. They didn't fall like rome or anything. I'm concerned but not scared of the US "falling."
  • The "Space Race" (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Pojut (1027544) on Wednesday October 24, 2007 @12:13PM (#21101093) Homepage
    We, as a species, should pool all of our assests together and put forth as much effort as possible at exploring space and figuring out a way to get off this rock.

    "But Pojut, there are so many issues down here already! Hunger, Homeless, Terrorism, Etc.!"

    And a lot of those problems would go away if we stopped acting like little children (our club is better than your club), united our efforts internationally, put some real money towards it, and actually went out and learned things.

    We will all either explore space together and get off this tiny planet, or we will all kill each other and our species will die out. I don't know about you, but I know which one I would prefer.
    • by east coast (590680) on Wednesday October 24, 2007 @12:22PM (#21101215)
      We will all either explore space together and get off this tiny planet, or we will all kill each other and our species will die out. I don't know about you, but I know which one I would prefer.

      Did you ever think that even if you were willing to "go along with the game plan" that there are plenty of others who'd rather stab you in the back?

      It's nice to think that you can throw down your guns and bombs and a great age of reason would swiftly follow but the much more likely scenario is that someone would just hide this gun behind their back and put a bullet in your head while you were working towards some other goal and simply take what was once yours.

      We're living in a world where groups of people are willing to kill other people over a god damn cartoon! That should be a sure sign that we're not ready for the Utopian world that was sold to us in Star Trek.
      • by Pojut (1027544)
        Which is something I addressed in my post in a single sentence...our club is better than your club.

        I'm aware that humanity as it stands now is in no position to unite and work together, but the longer we travel down the road we are on now, the more backtracking we will have to do.

        The sad thing is we have the resources, intelligence, and DRIVE to do these things...we are just using them all in a useless way that leads to one ending: our extinction.

        Just because it might not happen in our lifetimes does not me
        • Oh yeah, don't get me wrong, there will hopefully be a point in time where that it happens but why dwell too much on it today.

          And we do have the resources and the intelligence but we certainly don't have the drive. When it comes down to it Mr and Mrs Sixpack are still paying the bills on these types of things and, contrary to what some around here think, there are ears in Washington that do listen. If we can ever get the masses to see the virtue in scientific spending we will develop quickly but in the mea
      • by ktappe (747125)

        We're living in a world where groups of people are willing to kill other people over a god damn cartoon! That should be a sure sign that we're not ready for the Utopian world that was sold to us in Star Trek.
        And if you don't try to make things better, the world will never improve. Stop being a "they all want to kill us" downer and try having some vision and hope. Taking a defensive posture never got anyone anywhere.
        • Vision isn't going to make everyone stop their hostilities. That's the whole point of what I'm saying. The GP said "And a lot of those problems would go away if we stopped acting like little children". This simply isn't true. There is still going to be plenty of in-fighting and quarrels.

          Just look at the Linux crowd; so much cooperation and so many different distro because there are so many with different visions.
        • by cdrguru (88047)
          Right. But vision and hope aren't a solution. Killing all the folks that oppose the use of reason would however be a step in the right direction.

          You cannot reason with someone who has discarded reason. If they are content to stare into their navel, you can ignore them. When the person who has discarded reason decides the world isn't big enough for you and they, you have one choice left: you or they.

          We have spent perhaps the last 100 years trying desperately to avoid that conclusion. England tried it wi
      • by vertinox (846076)
        Did you ever think that even if you were willing to "go along with the game plan" that there are plenty of others who'd rather stab you in the back?

        Eventually, we'll either start a universal space program after we have an impact event killing millions of people showing us that space is a nasty place and we need to deal with it or we'll get hit with a really big one killing all life on the earth's surface making it a moot point.

        "The dinosaurs died because they didn't have a space program." -Larry Niven
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by GWBasic (900357)

        We're living in a world where groups of people are willing to kill other people over a god damn cartoon! That should be a sure sign that we're not ready for the Utopian world that was sold to us in Star Trek.

        So why don't we just pack up, move to Mars, and start our utopia there? After all, that's what the Pilgrams did when they hopped into the Mayflower. ;)

        • by mdielmann (514750)

          So why don't we just pack up, move to Mars, and start our utopia there? After all, that's what the Pilgrams did when they hopped into the Mayflower.
          Because there are no natives to exploit.

          Ooo, my first (intentional) troll! I feel special!
    • by MagicM (85041) on Wednesday October 24, 2007 @12:55PM (#21101681)
      You must be new here.

      (And by "here" I mean planet Earth.)
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by TastyCakes (917232)
      Wait, explain to me how spending billions or trillions of dollars of tax payer money on a project that practically zero tax payers are actually going to directly benefit from is going to end hunger or pollution or homelessness? And please spare me the "spin off technologies", as if investing that kind of money directly into research wouldn't produce similar results.

      Why are you so hell bent on getting "off this rock"? We are designed by nature to live here, we fit here. Why do you think it's such an amazi
    • by _Sprocket_ (42527) on Wednesday October 24, 2007 @01:17PM (#21101999)

      We, as a species, should pool all of our assests together and put forth as much effort as possible at exploring space and figuring out a way to get off this rock.


      I like your sentiment. However, you seem to be discounting or simply forgetting the value of competition. It may seem counterintuitive but sometimes divided pools of resources put towards achieving the same goal can achieve better results than a single effort.

      Often you'll have different ideas on how to solve a problem. Sometimes you can't really be sure which way is the best way until you try and implement both. Pick the successful one. The challenge is to be sure that "success" isn't due to outside influence (politics, marketing, etc.) but on purely performance issues.

      On a larger scale, the challenge to competing ideas is the bureaucracy. The larger the pool of resources and individuals involved, the greater the organization and mechanism to manage said resources and individuals. These environments tend to become lumbering, unwieldy things that require a lot of resources to simply run while stifling competition and innovation.

      A project at the scale of space exploration probably leads to some manner of bureaucracy. However, I'm more inclined to have smaller, battling bureaucracies rather than a single massive one... or at least the often difficult process of trying to make multiple massive bureaucracies work together.
    • by FleaPlus (6935)
      Keep in mind that while international collaboration is nice, it certainly isn't a panacea. Recall that international collaboration is the basis of the ISS, which is largely an overbudget boondoggle.
    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by davidsyes (765062)
      WHICH is why I advocate putting out of business ALL "state" navies, deprecating (not combining) them to the status of own-nation coast guards (in such a scenario, the USCG would FINALLY get to be THE maritime/policing authority and wouldn't the USN HATE that!) and supplanting the UN to some extent. State-based navies are shitty excuses for government billy clubs.

      See one of my sites.

      No, they're not about "bringing down the government", but they ARE about putting out of business a bunch of activities that nee
      • by davidsyes (765062)
        You know, this got scored and marked as funny, but when I went to read if via my cell phone (sprint, carrier) it was censored. The part that does NOT show up in my phone is:

        "want to be sunk? DON'T FUCKING SPY ON FOREIGN NATIONS, then."

        Why the fuck is Sprint censoring or editing MY cell-phone reading of a posting having profanity? (Or, is it S/D?, censoring before it gets to the phone, worried that some sensitive kids or squeamish adults might run across profanity on the net?) But, not just the WORD is white
    • The first space-plane (US shuttle) did not live up to all its predictions of economical reusability. China is using a modified Soyuz as atarting point. The US is goinf back to that type of model. We probably learned more from variety than if Russia had switched to the space-plane spin-off.
  • by RealAlaskan (576404) on Wednesday October 24, 2007 @12:26PM (#21101265) Homepage Journal
    Repeat after me:

    Nie hao ma? (How are you?)
    Wo hun hao. (I'm fine.)

    Ke bu ke yi wo qui nie de huo jian? (May I go in your rocket?)

    • by chad_r (79875) on Wednesday October 24, 2007 @01:17PM (#21102005)
      Nie hao ma? Does it really help to speak Chinese with a Russian accent?
      • Nie hao ma? Does it really help to speak Chinese with a Russian accent?

        Without the right tones, pronunciation really doesn't matter.

        With the right tones, the pronunciation features we English speakers focus on don't matter much, anyway.

        The Chinese are going to be laughing at you anyway, but they'll be pleased that you're trying, and they'll make an effort to communicate. Just learn to write the characters, or even the pinyin (which I've obviously forgotten) and you'll do fine.

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by Guano_Jim (157555)
      Ke bu ke yi wo qui nie de huo jian? (May I go in your rocket?)

      Bu ke yi.

      Wo men mei xu yao mei guo ren. Wo men zuo so you de ni men de dong xi.

      • by gstoddart (321705)

        Bu ke yi.

        Wo men mei xu yao mei guo ren. Wo men zuo so you de ni men de dong xi.

        Get bigger rocket.

        Women love big rockets. Women will love you if you buy our "big rocket" pills, only $9.95.


        (I abjectly apologize to any actual Chinese speakers, I have no idea what any of that says. :-P)

        Cheers
    • Repeat after me:

      Nie hao ma? (How are you?)
      Wo hun hao. (I'm fine.)

      Ke bu ke yi wo qui nie de huo jian? (May I go in your rocket?)

      Fei-oo - Junk
      FAHNG-sheen - Don't worry
      gun hoe-tze bee dio-se - Engage in a feces-hurling contest with a monkey
      Geo-shung yong-jur goo-jang. Jien-cha yong-chi gong yin. - Life support failure. Check oxygen levels at once.

      Oddly enough, all of these phrases are appropriate when flying Chinese rockets, particularly the one about the monkey.

    • by markbt73 (1032962)
      Yet another reason to watch Firefly [fireflywiki.org].
    • by dbIII (701233)
      "In English and German I know how to count down.

      And I'm learning Chinese" said Werner Von Braun.

  • by josquint (193951) on Wednesday October 24, 2007 @12:32PM (#21101353) Homepage
    are belong to us...
  • China Changing (Score:3, Interesting)

    by JoeShmoe950 (605274) <CrazyNorman@gmail.com> on Wednesday October 24, 2007 @12:35PM (#21101381) Homepage
    It sure seems like China is changing rapidly. While we are still well ahead of them in Space Tech., they have a lot of motivation. We are economic buddies, but will we enter a cold war with China, if they come to threaten us on the fronts we have historically been ahead on?
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by dbIII (701233)
      There are loonies that look back to the "good old days" of the Cold War and want to start another one with China, but I suspect it has got to the point where the Chinese can ignore them and wait for them to be replaced due to encroaching old age. We still see bursts of propaganda from old Nixon cronies that feel unwanted but I don't think much is taken seriously internationally.
  • The Chinese have clearly bought into the rumor that that Moon is absolutely littered with alien technology. Now they want to be the first to bring it back to China, clone it on the cheap with virtual slave labor, paint it with Pb paint, and sell it to the western barbarians.
    • by Mattsson (105422)
      No, they trying to find the old US lunar-landers so that they can bring them back and steal all their base!
  • Hughes beat them to it by 9 years. Yeah, a private company.
    http://query.nytimes.com/gst/fullpage.html?res=9C07E7D7143EF933A05757C0A96E958260&sec=&spon=&pagewanted=print [nytimes.com]
    Kind of cool how they saved a satellite by sending it to the moon. Or if you don't want to count it as Hughes, count it as a Russia-US-Kazakhstan-Hong Kong moon orbiter. And in that sense, this is the second time China is sending an orbiter.
    • by vertinox (846076)
      Hughes beat them to it by 9 years. Yeah, a private company.

      That was Howard Hughes's company. Which basically built the much of the equipment of Apollo landers and the majority of communication satellites today.

      Of course when you have WWII military contracts make you the richest man in the America, your private company can rival the size of any corporation today.

      So unless you've got a 100 billion dollars to hand out in military contracts, I don't think a private company to pull it off.
  • by Penguinisto (415985) on Wednesday October 24, 2007 @12:46PM (#21101543) Journal
    Seriously - the US had a chance to do something with the thing in a serious way, but we literally pissed away 35+ YEARS of that opportunity (at least since Apollo 17 returned).

    If others want a shot at it, I say go for it - at least someone is reaching upwards and towards getting humanity out of its cradle. More power to 'em if they can help establish a peaceful and vigorous plan in motion to reach that goal.

    I was literally less than 24 hours old when Apollo 11 launched. I'd like to think that we'd have people living and working full-time on the Moon sometime before I die of old age...

    /P

    • by mh1997 (1065630)

      I was literally less than 24 hours old when Apollo 11 launched. I'd like to think that we'd have people living and working full-time on the Moon sometime before I die of old age...

      I'd like to think that when people wish for something, that they were actually working on a solution, but I guess we'll both be dead by the time our thoughts come true.

      Wishing and hoping is for marketing, engineers solve problems - except for the ones we create by "fixing" a working design.

    • by GreggBz (777373)
      I wonder where is the public outcry then? We certainly have the resources, and for the most part, NASA does what the government (for the people right) tells it. I think they have done a reasonable job with their ever dwindling resources, their not perfect but their not to blame either.

      I try to elect a scientist who cares about these issues to congress, but none of them seem to want to get into politics. Why?
    • by Cajun Hell (725246) on Wednesday October 24, 2007 @02:19PM (#21102983) Homepage Journal

      we literally pissed away 35+ YEARS

      Nation's been asleep and nobody has done anything in all that time, huh?

      Computers sure seem better than they were 35 years ago. I carry a phone in my pocket. Apartheid has ended in South Africa. Disco music has been successfully crushed, tainted as "no longer cool." Lead has been vanquished from our gasoline, resulting in the virtual elimination of all crime. Wal-Mart distribution has efficiency that people couldn't even dream about 35 years ago. And last, but not least, The breakfast burrito has been perfected. [msn.com]

      We didn't piss away the years; we just didn't use the years the way you want. Technology (and more generally: the inventive capabilities of the human spirit) carried on, its passion at odds with an uncaring universe. It developed what it wanted to, solved problems that it thought needed solving.

      And now we have the most literally awesome breakfast burrito mankind has ever seen. I'm sure those who enjoy the fruits of that burrito research and development (yeah, like any of them actually eat fruit, when such a lusciously filling burrito is around), had the resources been spent on continuing the Apollo program continued instead, would say,

      We had a good start on the breakfast burrito problem, 35 years ago. And we PISSED IT AWAY, developing space applications instead. What good is a glass of Tang, if not used to wash down the perfect burrito? Why is burrito technology languishing, while pie-in-the-sky ideas capture Joe Sixpack's imagination?

      Think about it. Life is what you make it, and we made something. You just don't like it.

      So go ahead, eat your fruit and drink your Tang, and live in willful ignorance of (and spite for) Hardee's groundbreaking Country Breakfast Burrito. Daydream of a renewed Apollo program. Meanwhile, the Prime Movers of human progress -- the people who make the world turn! -- will continue to work on what they think is important. Is the Monster ThickBurger really the upper end of burger thickness? Is there a barrier that cannot be crossed? The intrepid human spirit screams, "No! There are no limits! With passion and ingenuity, anything is possible!"

  • by erroneus (253617) on Wednesday October 24, 2007 @01:07PM (#21101859) Homepage
    Perhaps we can get some pictures of the US moon landing hardware left behind on the moon from the Chinese. If they send us pictures THEY took, perhaps we can lay to rest the notion that we never went to the moon at all.
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      If they send us pictures THEY took, perhaps we can lay to rest the notion that we never went to the moon at all.

      The notion that we never went to the moon has been laid to rest since NASA released the footage showing men on the moon, in 1969.

      What I'm trying to say is that people who continue to deny the moon landing today are unlikely to be convinced just because more evidence appears. Conspiracy theorists are easily able to modify their conspiracies on the fly to rationalize new data. Paradoxically, the

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by tulsaoc3guy (755854)
      It wouldn't matter if they did take pictures. If the Chinese sent pictures of old moon landing hardware, the moon-landing-denial-crowd would just conclude that the Chinese must also be in on the conspiracy.
  • One of the marks of a great civilization in these technological times is advanced space capability. So the Chinese and others are going into space for the same reasons the US did decades ago, national pride and to some extent national security. And what better distraction from local problems and lack of political freedom than lunar missions to stir up the bonds of nationalism?

    In itself, space exploration is a good thing. But I don't think any of it would be happening without some national/political interest
  • Delusional (Score:4, Insightful)

    by DerekLyons (302214) <fairwater AT gmail DOT com> on Wednesday October 24, 2007 @01:29PM (#21102169) Homepage
    From TFA:

    Analysts say it is a key step towards China's aim of putting a man on the Moon by 2020

    Except that such an 'aim' is a creation mostly of the analysts themselves, China has made no goals or national policy statements. This so called 'moon race' is a creation of pundits looking to justify their paychecks.
  • Distribute a pirated copy of America's moon landing?

[Crash programs] fail because they are based on the theory that, with nine women pregnant, you can get a baby a month. -- Wernher von Braun

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