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Moon Space Science

China Successfully Launches Second Moon Probe 86

Posted by Soulskill
from the space-race-redux dept.
China launched its second unmanned Moon mission on Friday, sending the Chang'e II probe on a five-day journey to reach lunar orbit. "The probe plans to test technology in preparation for an unmanned moon landing in 2012, with a possible manned lunar mission to follow in 2017. China's other space plans include the launch of the first module of a future space station next year followed by the dispatch of manned spacecraft to dock with it. ... After its six-month mission, Chang'e II will either land on the moon as an experiment for future probes, fly further into outer space, or change its course and begin orbiting the Earth, Xinhua cited chief designer Huang Jiangchuan as saying." The Planetary Society blog has pictures and video of the launch.
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China Successfully Launches Second Moon Probe

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  • by MichaelSmith (789609) on Saturday October 02, 2010 @06:02AM (#33769240) Homepage Journal

    manned lunar mission doesn't have to mean a landing. It could just be their normal orbital vehicle on a figure eight trajectory around the moon.

    • by QuantumG (50515) * <qg@biodome.org> on Saturday October 02, 2010 @06:09AM (#33769262) Homepage Journal

      Yes, what annoys me is that the US news media keeps talking about China's plans to put humans on the Moon but they never provide any references. It's never "the Minister Of Space said," or some other quote from a respectable source, it's just stated as fact.

      Whenever official Chinese sources are quoted as talking about a human spaceflight program they say their plans are to build their own LEO space station, not lunar missions. As far as I'm aware there has never been any official statement of a human lunar program - and currently they simply don't have the boosters to do it and so far they haven't announced any plans to build launch vehicles capable of taking humans to the Moon.

      There's simply no Asian space race to the Moon, despite how much the US media wants one.

      • Congratulation (Score:5, Interesting)

        by Taco Cowboy (5327) on Saturday October 02, 2010 @06:26AM (#33769300) Journal

        Before this thread is filled with vile racist posts, let me first congratulate China on the launch of its 2nd moon surveyor, Chang Er 2.

        I know that this message will be modded down because a lot of people hate China for some reasons.

        • Re:Congraturation (Score:1, Insightful)

          by Anonymous Coward

          I can't really recall Slashdot being a forum for overt racism in the past.

          I know that this post will be modded down because I am invoking the Principal of Reverse Psychology.

        • by sznupi (719324)

          What happened during the last year? I seem to be under the impression that it intensified to silly levels only during the last year...

          Anyway, here's hoping that when anybody puts a lander on the moon, there will be a webcam with live view provided (hey, it won't change much, image once every few minutes will be more than enough). And when some rover - the video stream used for teleoperation will be likewise available on the web.

        • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

          by Anonymous Coward

          Note that China is a nation, not a race -- is it possible that some China-haters might actually hate China not because OMFG THEY R TEH YELLLOOWWWW!!!, but because of things China has done/continues to do that they find morally repugnant?

          • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

            by timeOday (582209)

            is it possible that some China-haters might actually hate China not because OMFG THEY R TEH YELLLOOWWWW!!!, but because of things China has done/continues to do that they find morally repugnant?

            Nope. Xenophobia and righteous indignation are both factors, but not they main ones. If so, there would be just as much angst over less powerful nations where people look and think differently. And also, we wouldn't be discussing China's moon program; we'd be discussing how to use our diplomatic and economic inf

        • by arcite (661011) on Saturday October 02, 2010 @07:38AM (#33769452)
          Never mind half their population live on $1 a day!
          • Re: (Score:1, Interesting)

            by Anonymous Coward

            [citation needed]

              • by shentino (1139071)

                Agreed.

                There are certain pieces of information that are common knowledge in certain groups.

                For example, everyone in the slashdot audience knows that the RIAA is a lawsuit factory, that Iran is renowned for human rights abuses, and that TCP/IP is the language of the internet.

                The rudeness of demanding citations rises in direct proportion to the product of the commonality of said knowledge and its obviousness, and in inverse proportion to the square of its incredulity.

          • Re: (Score:1, Insightful)

            by Anonymous Coward

            Never mind half their population live on $1 a day!

            Yes, and there are beggars in every country on this planet, let all countries stop their space program right this moment.

            Nevermind that the entire Chang'e space program cost less than a single Space Shuttle launch.

            But go ahead with the China bashing, you will get modded up no matter what.

          • Re: (Score:1, Insightful)

            by Anonymous Coward

            Yes, because having a space program has no positive impact on the research and manufacturing in China. High tech industries won't help improve conditions for at least some Chinese workers. Those people would be better off if they had not bothered getting an education and gone to work in some textile factory or assembling iPods instead.

          • Exchange rate? (Score:3, Insightful)

            by mangu (126918)

            Never mind half their population live on $1 a day!

            True or not, it doesn't matter.

            The real question is what does that buy? I know many Americans who make $100 a day and still can't make ends meet.

          • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

            Big bloody deal. There are places on earth where the people's incomes are so low they aren't measurable. They still appear to eat, sleep, clothe themselves and appear happier in general than us poor wage slaves. Plus, if civilisation was to collapse some of them wouldn't even notice.
        • by Anonymous Coward

          "Chinese" is a nationality. It is not a race. There are people of many races who are Chinese.

          Racism can't arise when we aren't dealing with a race!

          • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

            "Chinese" is a nationality. It is not a race. There are people of many races who are Chinese.

            Quite true, but many racists in America use "Chinese" to mean "any o' them thar yellar people."

          • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

            "Jew" is not a race either. Historically, the term "racist" had a broader and somewhat incorrect meaning, but this is English we're talking about, not Lojban.

        • by Type44Q (1233630)

          Before this thread is filled with vile racist posts, let me first congratulate China on the launch of its 2nd moon surveyor, Chang Er 2.

          I know that this message will be modded down because a lot of people hate China for some reasons.

          Strawman much? Most criticism of China these days is culturally and politically motivated, and whether you agree with any of it or not, has nothing whatsoever to do with race.

          • by Ironchew (1069966)

            The atrocities of racism in the past would have been explained by the dominant society as "culturally and politically motivated".

        • a lot of people hate China for some reasons

          Who hates the PRC? If America were to offer me the world on a silver platter, I'd take it, too; the PRC is just doing what nations do. Now those Americans who are lining up to give everything America has away? Those Americans who are sacrificing the future of the American people and our country to make a fast buck today?

          Them I don't like.

          The truly infuriating thing is that those particular Americans - Corporate America's owners and operators - are "the right", and our right claims "patriotism" as one

        • by BraksDad (963908)
          (in the voice of Eric Idle) Besides gun powder, what have the Chinese ever really done for us?
      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by sznupi (719324)

        With perfecting automatic rendezvouz, one doesn't really need large/rarely used/exceedingly expensive (vs. almost assembly-line manufactured, efficient in "kg to LEO per cost", not launch) booster. Also, chief scientist of their lunar exploration program is an outspoken supporter of manned exploration.

      • by wiredlogic (135348) on Saturday October 02, 2010 @08:56AM (#33769634)

        While there may be no official word. The fact that they created a copy of the Vehicle Assembly Building indicates that they are prepared to work on lunar capable, Saturn V sized boosters when the need arises.

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by GodWasAnAlien (206300)

        The article below, while saying China is pulling away from India, still lists china as only getting a moon rock sample in 2017. That is an unmanned mission. China has pledged to put a man on the moon by 2025.
        But I suspect China and India are racing for 2020.

        http://www.peopleforum.cn/viewthread.php?tid=40438 [peopleforum.cn]

        I think China is on schedule:

        http://slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=1653384&cid=32219866 [slashdot.org]

        Chang'e 2 - 2010, second lunar orbiter
        Chang'e 3 - 2013, lunar lander
        Chang'e 4 - 2017, return lunar sample to earth
        C

      • Quant, I have seen multiple new statements DIRECTLY FROM CNSA, as well as CPLA (their bosses), around 2004-5. Griffin went to CHina because of those. I am not going to bother to google for them, since I KNOW that they were there. The problem is, that neo-cons started saying that we were in a space race with CHina, so Chinese buried their statements and stopped saying them.
  • leaping ahead (Score:5, Insightful)

    by sohp (22984) <(snewton) (at) (io.com)> on Saturday October 02, 2010 @06:11AM (#33769270) Homepage

    Thanks to self-interested politicians like Utah's Orrin Hatch [nasawatch.com] and others who'd rather fatten up on pork [nytimes.com], China has a viable space program, while the US just has a money sink that keeps corporations flush in fat lobbying budgets.

    • Re: (Score:1, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      "Auf deutsch und auf englisch
      kenn' ich den Countdown.
      Jetzt lern' ich chinesisch!"
      sagt Wernher von Braun.

    • by yog (19073) *

      "US just has a money sink..."

      Obama recently cancelled a big chunk of Nasa's human space exploration program. Does that make you happier?

      The space program, like most big budget government programs, is by definition a lobby-driven money sink and always has been. However, it has accomplished some great things nonetheless.

      What's more, how is it somehow OK to budget a trillion or two we don't have for corporate bailouts and healthcare entitlement pork, yet we can't afford $5B/year to keep Constellation going?

  • Good for them! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by RyanFenton (230700) on Saturday October 02, 2010 @06:12AM (#33769274)

    I love it when any nation does ambitious explorations like this, to progress and promote their general state of science and technology.

    I just hope they release any findings freely - I do dislike the idea of scientific projects where most of the results end up state/company secrets.

    Ryan Fenton

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by TheNucleon (865817)

      "July 1969 A.D. We Came in Peace For All Mankind."

      If Mankind can return during my lifetime, I'll be delighted. I don't particularly care which section of Mankind leads the way - I'll rejoice with them when we venture out again.

      Think what we could accomplish if we all worked together? Maybe someday we could get out of our own back yard.

  • To pre-empt the inevitable sino-phobic scare mongering posters, let me get the shitposts out of the way:
    1. OMFG, China is making a lunar land grab.
    2. Great job China, you're just 50 years late (smug).
    3. We've done this before. Nothing to see here. Move along (more smug).
    4. Socialist!
    5. Not content with polluting the Earth, China is now throwing junk on the moon.
    6. We must stop the expansionist Godless pinko commie heathens.
    7. Meh, China's economy is doing too well, so it is bound to crash and their space program will cease.
    • Re: (Score:1, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Yes, you missed the iconoclastic, exhaustive list of possible objection vectors.

    • Anything I missed?

      We have to attack them now as they are weaponising the moon.

  • by zrbyte (1666979)
    Manned mission to the Moon? A new space station? Even if these are just rumors I'm sure it should make the US a bit uneasy. Come on guys I want to see another space race!
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Nyeerrmm (940927)

      Considering that its taken NASA 30 years to get over the first one, and we're still recovering, the last thing we need is another one.

      Space races lead to expensive one-off architectures that achieve their goal but are too expensive to be used for much else. NASA needs to learn how to develop flexible systems that can be revised and re-purposed with minimal modifications, short time-frames, and within the historical post-Apollo budget.

      I fear if we got in another space race with China, we'd achieve more flag

    • I don't see it happening. I recall a video where there current NASA Administrator stated that, "It doesn't matter if China makes it back to the moon first."
  • that's great (Score:2, Interesting)

    by pinkeen (1804300)
    I'd like to live long enough to see a manned mission to moon or maybe mars. I don't care who does it, as long as they will share the experience with the rest of the world.
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by WindBourne (631190)
      It has already happened. The USA sent a number of men to the moon. And they regularly share not just the experience, but we brought back so much rock, that we have shared some with just about every nation on this planet. In addition, you can pick up a DVD of it. Heck, new footage was just released in Australia and will be coming here soon.
      • Re:that's great (Score:4, Insightful)

        by interactive_civilian (205158) <mamoru&gmail,com> on Saturday October 02, 2010 @12:08PM (#33770524) Homepage Journal

        It has already happened. The USA sent a number of men to the moon.

        And a great many of us were not alive when this happened. Along with GPP, I'd like to see another man on the Moon. Yes, the United States did it. Yes, we Americans briefly touched greatness. Yes, we took our first baby steps out into the next great frontier and the only real long term future for humanity. And then, like frightened or chastised children, we fled back to the safety of our mother's skirt and have remained there ever since.

        I am not discounting at all the greatness achieved by unmanned exploratory missions. I think they are some of the finest achievements of humankind (We've sent probes out of the solar system!). But, I can't help but feel a thrill that some humans somewhere on the planet are actively working towards once again stepping away from our mother. And I wouldn't be able to help feeling some measure of pride to see that happen again. And I would be even more proud to see humans take further steps out into the solar system.

        And, I couldn't care less if they are speaking Chinese when they do it.

      • by pinkeen (1804300)

        It has already happened.

        1) I wasn't even born then. It's completely different experience being able to follow the whole endeavour - live - from the beginning, I imagine.
        2) Now we have way better AV equipment.

    • I'd like to see it, too, but for different reasons.

      The U.S. ventured out to the Moon in the late 1960s. Afterwards, they got hung up in Earth orbit with Skylab and the Space Shuttle, doing scientific experiments and hoping to find something interesting to get private industry involved ("make pure crystals in zero G!"). Generally speaking, private industry didn't care except for some of the medical research. But since the Apollo missions, NASA hasn't done much with the Moon.

      Hopefully, someone else will.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday October 02, 2010 @07:12AM (#33769404)

    They finished probing the first moon already?

  • by rossdee (243626) on Saturday October 02, 2010 @07:32AM (#33769438)

    Is that the one with the likeness of a jumping mouse on? (The Freman call it Muad'dib)

  • I hope this is the kick in the pants the US needs to restart out space program. I was saddened when NASA got 'demoted.' It felt like we lost something. I dont know.

    • by LingNoi (1066278)

      I disagree, they're more private companies doing space in the US today you can't just look at NASA and come to the conclusion that space travel in the US is dead.

      • Not to discount the efforts of such companies, but I will be ready to get really excited about them and see the hope they offer when they actually put a person into orbit.

        I'm sure it's coming, and I'm waiting, but I have a hard time getting excited about it until it happens. There won't be much, if any, profit from space for quite some time, and it's kind of hard to imagine modern corporations, with their short-sightedness and desire for immediate return, to actually commit and go through with such a huge i

    • I know. Thankfully, we killed constellation and have pushed harder to get multiple archs. going via private fixed costs space, rather than cost plus space, which leads to huge prices. Once we start having low cost launches combined with multiple destinations (say several PRIVATE space stations), then we will see private fixed costs companies going to the moon. Yes, times are looking up for NASA.
  • With all the engineers NASA has laid-off expect a big boost to their space and defense program.

  • ...here we come! [wikipedia.org]

    Seriously though, doesn't it worry anyone that most of the other big countries are more interested in space-related projects than the United States or Europe is? With all of China's plans, and the United States cutting it's space programs, you have to wonder where this will take us in the long term. Space is humanity's final frontier, yet Americans seem to be wholly uninterested in space travel, as do Europeans. Talking to most people on either side of the pond usually results in a "Space t

  • How quaint...

  • Good for China for picking up the slack. As a space addict, I'll get my heroin anywhere I can. It's sad though that we still don't have a true international space agency. I like to fantasize sometimes about all the nations coming together to pool all their resources into a single collective of cooperation. Hmm does that make me a communist.
    • The ESA is a true international space agency, just not a world-wide one.
      • With the loss of the shuttles, we might have to rely on ESA and the Russian FKA. So ESA might get a little more global hopefully.
  • Let's see them try to fake THEIR moon landings with cameras from the 1960s! That's how a manly country would do it.
  • Honestly, my hope is that the strides being made by China and India into space will spark the US into action to become competitive again. However, I am fully aware that given the current state of US politics and politicians that is so incredibly unlikely. Things like this spurring the US into action reminds me of Merry and Pip trying to spur the Ents into action in LOTR... except that with the USA there won't be a sudden realization that the battle needs to be fought until Mordor is already long since lost.

    • And that's what I get for posting without sufficient coffee in my system... I meant of course Middle Earth ;)

  • Let me get this straight. The space craft will either attempt to land on the moon, go further out into space OR return to Earth.

    What other options are there? Disapear into anoher dimension? They could just let it ride and manage one of the three no matter where the thing goes. If their calculations or timing are wrong or if they experience mechanical failure, they will at least hit their target.

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