Forgot your password?
typodupeerror
Moon Space

China's First Lunar Satellite Sends Back Pictures 144

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the new-race-is-on dept.
Fantastic Lad writes "Chinese leaders hailed images sent back from the country's first lunar satellite on Monday, saying they showed their nation had thrust itself into the front ranks of global technological powers. China plans to launch its third manned rocket, Shenzhou VII, into space in October 2008 and may send an astronaut on a space walk, a Shanghai paper said. But a space official downplayed plans to put a man on the moon."There are no plans at the moment to send anyone on to the moon. I've heard of foreign reports which say China will put a man on the moon by 2020, but I don't know of such a plan," said Sun Laiyan, head of the China National Space Administration. "Please don't give us any more pressure. But I'm confident one day we'll put an astronaut on the moon," he told a news conference."
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

China's First Lunar Satellite Sends Back Pictures

Comments Filter:
  • But I'm confident one day we'll put an astronaut on the moon," he told a news conference.
    In related news, Chinese scientists have been found to be studying old episodes of the 1950s American television show The Honeymooners [wikipedia.org], hoping to actually the find the episode where Alice goes to the moon.
    • by Billosaur (927319) *

      The Moon is suddenly becoming a hot zone, with the Japanese and Chinese having satellites orbiting it and the United States thinking about a return, both publicly and via private-sector initiatives. Makes you wonder who will discover the Monolith in Tycho first...

    • by CRCulver (715279)
      That was just a metaphor for beating his wife.
      • by Hassman (320786)
        Yea, apparently beating one's wife used to be funny.

        Haven't quite figured it out yet.
  • Despite politics (Score:3, Interesting)

    by jshriverWVU (810740) on Monday November 26, 2007 @11:49AM (#21479579)
    Congradulations! Science has no political boundaries. I just hope they are willing to share their results, much like we and the ESA has.
    • until they find something interesting. At that point, I expect it to be skipped. Keep in mind that while the chinese ppl are fine, the gov. is still the same one that has always been in place; secretive and having intentions other than what is said (i.e. they are like any other gov).
    • by dwm (151474)
      Appreciation of good science should have no political boundaries. But the Chinese, of course, are doing this for political reasons, just as the Americans did before them. Doesn't besmirch in any way their results, but the choice of what science gets funded is almost always political and economic.
    • The western world has only shared with themselves. The Chinese have been trying to get into the International Space Station program for years, and they've been denied. Maybe if they had been given the opportunity, this 'race' wouldn't have started.
  • Everyone knows the only reason China's putting so much effort into examining the moon is in the hopes of finding "Made in Taiwan" written in its dust.
    • Of course, this only works so long as they pwn Taiwan. There's a lot of people that want to see Taiwan independant [wikipedia.org] of the People's Republic of China (PRC).
  • Please don't give us any more pressure. But I'm confident one day we'll put an astronaut on the moon
    But he sounds pretty sure they will get there eventually. But how many decades of research do they have to build off of? Still this push back into space and a new "space race" is neat to watch.
    • But he sounds pretty sure they will get there eventually.

      If there's a real desire to get there, it'll happen. We know it can be done, that's been proven. Sure, there's a lot of work ahead of China... Plenty of R&D... But it can be done. And if China as a nation wants to put a man on the moon, there's no good reason they won't be able to.

      That's what's missing here in the U.S. - desire. Folks don't seem to care much about NASA/space anymore, and funding keeps getting cut.

    • by Hatta (162192)
      If the US could do it in under a decade 40 years ago, what makes you think the Chinese with 10x the population and 40 years of technological advancement can't?
  • by Anonymous Coward
    This is independently corroborated evidence , that the Moon is made of cheese. Oh the Power of Cheese !!!
  • Nah (Score:2, Redundant)

    by jotok (728554)
    They just ripped off existing American photos of the Moon.
    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by Beorytis (1014777)
      Which were faked to begin with!
      • There is a book on this one. Can't recall the title but it was convincing. Something about the star constellations not matching to what it "should" be from the U.S. mission.
        • Did they also have a convincing explanation for the many clearly non-terrestrial rock samples the astronauts brought back with them? I'm curious how they explained those away.
  • Isn't there supposed to be an American flag on this side of the moon?

    • by CastrTroy (595695) on Monday November 26, 2007 @11:57AM (#21479703) Homepage
      That was quite a while ago. It was probably blown away by the wind. Who knows where it is now.
      • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

        by InterBigs (780612)
        Ahh yes, lunar wind. Another glorious American discovery!
      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by Kjella (173770)
        The moon has next to no atmosphere and so no wind either. I don't know how long it takes for any of the other effects of basicly being a rock directly exposed to space and the sun take to erode away the flag, but I'm guessing quite some time.
        • Yes, it has a VERY thin atmosphere. More importantly, it does blow around there. Even more so, when a meteor hits it (frequently), or a space craft (not so frequently, but about to change).
          • by CastrTroy (595695)
            The earth would get hit by meteors quite often too, if it wasn't for our atmosphere. Most stuff travelling towards the earth burns up in our atmosphere. Every time you see a shooting star, that's a meteor.
            • Yes, I know. But the vast majority of our meteors burn up in the atmosphere. In Contrast, when a meteor hits the moon, it can throw the material literally around the moon. It is part of what creates the "wind" on the moon.
        • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

          by Facetious (710885)
          Dude, get your joke-meter fixed. One of the we-didn't-go-to-the-moon conspiracy theory pieces of evidence was the flag "blowing" in the "wind" on film.
    • Dunt think can find it. Still think that was just a hoax directed by the goverment.
    • Isn't there supposed to be an American flag on this side of the moon?

      Nah, the wind blew it away.
    • Your thinking of Stage 4 where they filmed the rest of the Moon landing.

      The graphics back then were terrible, weren't they?
    • Although the unfiltered sunlight has probably bleached them all white by now.
    • I've read that the first one was blown down by the Eagle lander lifting off.
  • But catching up!
  • by onetwentyone (882404) on Monday November 26, 2007 @12:03PM (#21479783) Homepage
    Ok, the US put a man on the moon in a really short span of time. We even got a whole flurry to repeat the trip in the following years. So why is it that we can't seem to get anything done with that level of efficiency again? Yes I know there is the lack of money which is a huge problem but you might think that NASA would spend what they could on getting someone exceedingly charismatic to work Congress for the dough.

    If NASA were to start hyping themselves up again (and not relying on past glories), we could really start to see some great achievements coming out of those brilliant people again.

    Which brings us to China. This new endeavor is a point of pride for the country and its government much like it was for us 40 years ago. I'm actually going to root for China in the hope that it will get we Americans to start looking back into space.
    • by SailorSpork (1080153) on Monday November 26, 2007 @12:21PM (#21479989) Homepage
      When we put a man on the moon, we were spurred to catch up & beat the USSR's Sputnik, which frankly shocked the crap out of the US. By 1965, Kennedy had ballooned NASA's budget from $500 million to $5.2 billion (or 5.3% of GDP), which meant that about 1 in 19ish US jobs were geared to the moon landing. Our budget as a % of GDP is back down to 0.58% of GDP. [slashdot.org] If we want to do something fast again, we'll need to pump in more money from somewhere.
       
      Another problem with "going back" is that so many people worked on it that are now old or dead that we have no real working knowledge of how we did it or how to do it again (not to mention the vast tech changes), so we'd be starting over basically from scratch.
      • by nschubach (922175)
        Your telling me that putting something on Mars is easier than the moon? I think the knowledge of placing a craft on another solar body still exists.
        • The reason is that once out of the earth's gravity well, it is the same diff to get to one place or another (assuming that time does not matter, such as for cargo). OTH, to land on mars, we can use the atmosphere to slow down the craft (via parachutes or even with wings). OTH, the moon will require a FULL LANDER all the way down. Of course, take off is much easier from the moon, but in terms of simply putting something on the surface, mars IS easier.
          • by Mindwarp (15738) on Monday November 26, 2007 @02:38PM (#21481933) Homepage Journal
            "once out of the earth's gravity well, it is the same diff to get to one place or another"

            A journey of a few days vs. a journey of a few weeks (insanely optimistic) to eighteen months (far more realistic.) If one of your success criteria is having live astronauts at the end of the trip then I'm putting my money on the latter being the one that's orders of magnitude harder.

            "to land on mars, we can use the atmosphere to slow down the craft"

            (a) Mars' atmosphere is very thin, (b) its gravity is far higher than the moon, (c) the crew capsule /landing module for any Mars mission will be far larger than that required for a Moon mission (it's got to contend with the fact that there IS an atmosphere for a start), and (d) entry speed for a Mars mission is massively higher than a Moon landing due to the fact that you have to be going so much faster just to get to Mars in any 'reasonable' time frame.

            Handling a Mars orbital insertion and landing is hugely more technically challenging than a Moon landing for all of those reasons, and more. The science and engineering behind designing parachutes that could slow a capsule down to landing speeds alone is daunting. Don't forget that due to (a) they have to be enormous compared to parachutes used on the Earth, and they have to open in such a way that the mechanical stresses don't tear them or turn the capsule occupants into paté.

            The Moon is easy in comparison. There's no atmosphere to worry about so the lander was delicate and above all light, and the Moon's gravity is low enough that you can gently touch down using just a single moderately powered descent engine.
            • by dcmeserve (615081)
              I have heard that a "couple of weeks" trip time to Mars is quite possible if you use an ion drive of sufficient size. A low acceleration applied continuously over a long period can work surprisingly well. This would also handle the deceleration issue, as you'd spend half the trip with the engine pointed behind you, and the other half with it in front.

              Also, any such mission really shouldn't have the same vehicle serving as both interplanetary transport and lander/launcher (or even just together). All th
      • When we put a man on the moon, we were spurred to catch up & beat the USSR's Sputnik, which frankly shocked the crap out of the US.

        Actually, there was little if any "catchup" to do. While Vanguard [wikipedia.org] was the main effort by the US at the time, despite funding cuts Explorer [wikipedia.org] was ready to go [batnet.com] months before Sputnik.

        By 1965, Kennedy had ballooned NASA's budget from $500 million to $5.2 billion (or 5.3% of GDP), which meant that about 1 in 19ish US jobs were geared to the moon landing.

        If anything, that w
    • by AsnFkr (545033) on Monday November 26, 2007 @12:21PM (#21479999) Homepage Journal
      1. Building public hype to go *back* to the moon is much harder than building hype to be the first to ever go.

      2. No cold war. We are not currently afraid of another countries technological abilities, so we have no need to showboat ours. This was a big issue with both Congress and the public in the 60's.

      3. The general public isn't interested in patriotism unless it has to do with winning a war or putting a yellow ribbon magnet on their cars next to the Dale Earnhardt memorial. And even then, most people nowadays seem to hate the current war.

      4. The benefits of space development are not 100% crystal clear to the general public.

      5. The first time we went to the moon that was 100% (or very close to) NASA's only objective. This means they had a larger percentage of their funding to throw in that direction. Now they have many other projects that need funding as well. In other to continue to operate these other operations it's a bit of a trade off in the time it will take to develop the new equipment for another moon shot.
      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by stud9920 (236753)

        2. No cold war. We are not currently afraid of another countries technological abilities, so we have no need to showboat ours. This was a big issue with both Congress and the public in the 60's.
        The Boogeyman changed. Hey! I hear their is a terrorist training base on the moon !
      • by Flwyd (607088)
        6. We've already been to the moon and collected data. There's lots we still don't know about the moon, but there's even more we don't know about Mars, Io, Titan, Alpha Centauri...
      • Why don't we push the bar further and start working on a manned mission to Mars? If not that then perhaps other big and useful things like a space elevator.
        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by AsnFkr (545033)
          A colony on the moon is the first step towards a manned Mars mission as learning how to survive on an alien surface for long periods of time is a major part of learning how to properly execute such a mission. We didn't just launch Apollo 11 in one shot and land; we had the entire Gemini and and four manned Apollo missions to work out all the details (Long term flight, EVA, rendezvous, docking etc) before making the actual moon landing attempt. In fact, the space station(s) have been excellent in educating u
      • The benefits of space development are not 100% crystal clear to the general public.

        The benefits of manned space flight do not appear particularly obvious to many observers, both informed and otherwise. While there is plenty of science remaining to be done in space, benefits of putting people in space seems to be pretty much in finding out the effects of spaceflight on people.

        Even the general public appear to be catching on that this is a bit of a confidence scheme. Justifying science budgets with patri
      • by dcmeserve (615081)

        4. The benefits of space development are not 100% crystal clear to the general public.

        Yes, and trying to say it's about "science" only muddies the waters further. Leave the pure-science missions to the robots.

        To me, it's clear:

        The only reason to put people into space ... is to put people into space.

        That may sound self-referential, but it's really the correct goal -- and one worthy of sustained national and international attention. Basically, we all want to go to space. We want it to eventua

    • by imsabbel (611519)
      Well, the situation is different:
      Back than, spaceflight was a) a matter of _extreme_ national pride. b) a propaganda race with the soviet uninion and c) had lots of military synergies (all the reasearch in missile technology, ect).

      Just to make a bad comparison: If the money for the war in iraq would have been spend for a moon mission, we would be there now (or the next 2 years).
      Just pushing 100 or 200 billions a year into it and stuff gets going.

      But thats not very economic, and as there is no "real" payback
    • by Tablizer (95088)
      So why is it that we can't seem to get anything done with that level of efficiency again?

      Forget manned space-flight. Until colonies can pay for themselves, its a waste of money. Unmanned exploration is far cheaper and more exciting IMO. I'd rather see videos of the lakes of Titan up close or a submarine inside of Europa than man on Mars.

      And please don't claim that manned sample collection is superior to robots. It's not for two reasons: First, one can get wider samples from robots, and second because its
      • by T-Bone-T (1048702)
        I think you got your terms switched. Your rant makes more sense if manned is replaced with unmanned and vice-versa. So what if a robot goes to Mars. That doesn't get ME really any closer to going to Mars. Human collection gathering is far superior to robotic collection. The rovers on Mars slowly drive up to a rock and take a picture. Almost 15 minutes later, scientists get a picture of the rock. They then spend a couple hours examining the picture. If they decide to take a sample, it will take anoth
    • Better yet, why send someone to the moon? What is this person going to do there? Is it good value for money?

      NASA (and other world space agencies) are actually *much more* efficient nowadays with remote exploration of the solar system. We have sent probes to Mars, Jupiter and we have even landed one on Titan (one of Saturn's moons). These probes can send back images, take & analyze samples and, most importantly, they cost a fraction of a similar manned mission. They don't ask to come back to Earth a

      • by jamstar7 (694492)

        Better yet, why send someone to the moon? What is this person going to do there? Is it good value for money?

        I'd go in a heartbeat. And I'd stay as long as I could. Where do I sign up to be a colonist?

    • So why is it that we can't seem to get anything done with that level of efficiency again?

      What makes you think it was done efficiently? It was done basically by throwing an enormous amount of money at the problem. All respect to the engineers who made it happen, but it was NOT done inexpensively or efficiently.

      I'm actually going to root for China in the hope that it will get we Americans to start looking back into space.

      Some people keep looking for a space race to happen again, but it never will. W

    • So why is it that we can't seem to get anything done with that level of efficiency again?

      Short answer: we goofed. Longer answer: we not only goofed, but we munged it after the initial goof (MUNG being used here as the recursive acronym for Mung Until No Good).

      The USA thought it could build a reusable space vehicle that would be mounted on a reusable first stage, and that a small fleet of these would be able to deliver enough tonnage to LEO quickly enough that further lunar missions could be launched from there, as well as doing just all sorts of other neat stuff, like maybe brokering Pax Am

  • Congradulations! Science has no political boundaries. My father spend at least 40 year for Chinese space area. Wei Xiang
  • Isn't that Niel Goldman's face??
  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday November 26, 2007 @12:18PM (#21479953)
    Well going on the moon shouldn't be to hard for China, all they have to do is put a chinese over a chinese over a chinese over a ...
  • by Vampyre_Dark (630787) on Monday November 26, 2007 @12:21PM (#21479981)
    I'm disappointed that the images aren't censored.
  • that we all helped pay for this by purchasing endless amounts of plastic tat and other cheap Chinese goods. So let's all take pride in those moon shots.
  • Oblig. (Score:1, Offtopic)

    by truthsearch (249536)
    Bender: Fine. I'll go build my own lunar lander! With blackjack! And hookers! In fact, forget the lunar lander! And the blackjack! Ah, screw the whole thing.

    Oops, wrong thread....
  • Confused (Score:5, Insightful)

    by lightsaber777 (920815) on Monday November 26, 2007 @12:55PM (#21480491) Journal
    We are sending satellites to the far reaches of the solar system and beyond. We have rovers exploring Mars as we speak, which send back spectacular pictures and have performed far beyond the original specifications. We have a telescope in space that monitors distant galaxies. We have intercepted and collected samples from a comet. I fail to see why it is big news when the Chinese replicate a feat that was done nearly half a century ago by two other countries, one of which has sent humans there multiple times using computers less powerful than some people's cell phones. Are they also going to tell their people they were the first ones there and everything else is "Capitalist Propaganda"?
    • Re:Confused (Score:4, Informative)

      by Quiet_Desperation (858215) on Monday November 26, 2007 @01:03PM (#21480585)
      And a successful lander on fricken' Titan. Everyone seems to forget that one, which I personally think kicks the ass of every other space endeavor out there. That was international cooperation at its best: American spacecraft and ESA lander.
      • Yup I forgot about that one. I think the comet is pretty impressive as well if not one of the most impressive feats. It's like taking a shot at a dime from 10 miles away.
    • Re: (Score:1, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward
      I was impressed when my child took his first step, even though I have been doing the exact same thing for over 30 years.

      I'm not sure that it's realistic to expect China to send a man on Mars before gaining enough space travel experience. The way I look at it, their lunar satelite could either have failed or succeeded. It worked, so they celebrate. Isn't that fair enough? Or is it "communist propaganda" ?
      • A good point but it's not quite the same thing. They are considered one of the most powerful nations in the world. Celebrating over this is like a 30 year old celebrating their first steps or learning to use the toilet. Now if Zimbabwe makes it to the moon, that would be impressive.
    • by turgid (580780)

      I fail to see why it is big news when the Chinese replicate a feat that was done nearly half a century ago by two other countries

      It's big news because it's a sign of the times.

      Rather than these things being the rare and exclusive preserve of the richest country in the world and it's arch-rival, this level of technological achievement is now becoming common place.

      Hopefully, this is the beginning of a new era in human history, where scientific exploration of space is routine for most countries, but I have

    • Re:Confused (Score:4, Insightful)

      by cozziewozzie (344246) on Monday November 26, 2007 @02:55PM (#21482189)
      The fact that the US, Europe and the USSR have done it countless times and China hasn't is exactly the reason why this is seen as important news.

      It means that China is catching up very fast with the other space powers. It means China is capable of launching satelites without help, which has military consequences.

      It means their technology is catching up with the West's, which has all sorts of impact on the society. Remember the outsourcing woes where cheap jobs are lost to the third world? If China becomes a technology superpower instead of just a cheap labour superpower, this will have great economic consequences. These projects clearly show that there are people in there capable of great technological feats.

      It also opens possibilities for scientific cooperation in the future, like the one between the NASA and the ESA.

      It could also affect the funding of NASA, ESA, etc, more than their own (interesting and scientifically relevant) missions can.

      There are many reasons why this is interesting. For one, when the first lunar missions were taking place, China was a mostly illiterate country barely subsisting on farming, with no industry to speak of. Now they're sending people into space. There is a new kid on the block, and that is interesting.
      • We went to the moon with technology that didn't exist 40 years before. I am unconvinced that going to the moon is a great technological feat anymore. China had significant advantages including the fact that an example exists. Don't downplay how difficult it is to take theory into practice... that is what the physicists and engineers in the 60s did and why this accomplishment, while great for China, does not compare. The same could be said of the Mars rovers, the expedition to Titan, taking core samples
        • Nobody is saying that it is EQUALLY impressive as the original Moon missions were.

          Nobody is saying that China is EQUALLY advanced in space travel now.

          But, even today, sending a man into space is a huge feat, a feat that vast majority of countries out there simply cannot do. It's not as impressive as it was in the 1960s, but it is still impressive.

          When Pakistan and India went nuclear, it was huge news. It wasn't as huge as when the first A-bomb was built. It wasn't as challenging or as impressive. Neverthele
    • The sentiment represents Americans' worry about a credible up-and-coming competitor who has the drive and the pocket to surpass what Americans, not what have accomplished by them.

      While China has produced large number of engineers and scientists and has the ability to imitate quickly, they lacks creativity and they are unable to retain the best. For example, most top rank students from top rank universities like Beijing University, Tsinghua, etc. ends up as foreign students in American universities where th

  • In the US and USSR people were poor when we went to the moon. I know the Democrats say that crap in US whenever we do something like that. They always claim "what about the poor people?" Which really means "what do I get out of it." Democrats don't understand the number of jobs and the great technology that come from these projects.
    • by Ceres54 (609053)
      Yes, well... I also thought the note about the millions of poor in China was a bit misplaced in an article like this, but that was because I was unable to detect the presence of slimy technology hating Democrats behind it. It must be that they (the STHDs) are conflicted. Since they hate America they love to see rival countries succeed, but because they have a knee-jerk bleeding-heart-liberal reaction, they feel they must mention the poor. I just couldn't see the evil/liberal purpose lurking behind the ar
  • Did any other country(like china, japan) find evidence of US having landed in moon? I was just wondering about conspiracy theory that US never landed on moon.
  • Tell Bush that... (Score:2, Flamebait)

    by SirKron (112214)
    Tell Bush that Osama is on the moon with WMDs. We will get there again.
    • by ImpShial (1045486)

      Tell Cheney that Oil is on the moon and it can be rebuilt by his buddies.

      There. Fixed that for you.

  • I think there might be more competitive spirit strung in tension between China and Japan.

    The Chinese and the Japanese have quite the long-time rivalry. I suspect that the hi-def pictures Japan's lunar orbiter sent home a few weeks back did not go without notice in China. What a crummy way to have the wind taken out of China's sails barely a month before the completion of their own lunar mission. --And the political models of each country would certainly support another space race.

    I'd be excited to see so
  • We had landed men on the Moon.

    Back in the 1960's, Mao ignored Apollo entirely. Unlike the USSR (which reported on it and congratulated us), the PRC's position was
    that it never happened.
  • Was anyone else put off by the editorial tone of this article? I would like to think Reuters could serve this story up in a more objective fashion.

What ever you want is going to cost a little more than it is worth. -- The Second Law Of Thermodynamics

Working...