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China Moon Space Science

Chinese Moon Probe Ventures Into Deep Space 167

Posted by timothy
from the been-there-done-that dept.
hackingbear writes "After completing its 6-month moon survey mission, China's second moon orbiter, Chang'e-2, was found to be in excellent condition and has abundant fuel left, and so it set off from its moon orbit into deep space, heading toward Lagrangian point L2 about 1.5 million kilometers away from the earth, or about 4 times farther out than the moon. The orbiter left its moon orbit at 5:10 p.m., according to the State Administration of Science, Technology and Industry for National Defence. The probe is expected to perform exploration at L2. It is the first Chinese spacecraft to venture beyond the moon and establish the country's capability in deep space exploration."
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Chinese Moon Probe Ventures Into Deep Space

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  • Re:Translation: (Score:4, Informative)

    by NoNonAlphaCharsHere (2201864) on Thursday June 09, 2011 @02:28PM (#36392528)
    I can see from your sig that you're not easily swayed by pesky things like FACTS, but I'll try [universetoday.com], anyways.
  • by tloh (451585) on Thursday June 09, 2011 @02:32PM (#36392576)

    From the Wikipedia article on Lagrangian point:

    "The Sun-Earth L2 is a good spot for space-based observatories. Because an object around L2 will maintain the same orientation with respect to the Sun and Earth, shielding and calibration are much simpler."

  • by thrich81 (1357561) on Thursday June 09, 2011 @02:35PM (#36392616)
    This is a common meme, but I don't think it holds up objectively. For example, the US currently has an operating lunar orbiter (Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter) as well as operating spacecraft in orbit around Mercury, Mars, and Saturn. The US will soon be launching a new orbiter to Jupiter. The US Dawn spacecraft will enter orbit around the asteroid Vesta this July. This is a golden age for US planetary exploration. The US manned program is hitting a slow spot, which gets all the news and it remains to be seen what happens to the unmanned budget in coming years but the US will have to do a lot of "cutting back" before anyone else is even close.
  • Re:Translation: (Score:3, Informative)

    by Gohtar (1829140) on Thursday June 09, 2011 @02:37PM (#36392634)
    I don't find this hard to believe, a fake press release was, errr.., released by the Chinese, about one of their rockets that was still sitting on the launch pad. They called the mission a success, it even came complete with transcripts of dialogue between the astronauts and the ground.
  • Re:Translation: (Score:4, Informative)

    by gstoddart (321705) on Thursday June 09, 2011 @02:37PM (#36392642) Homepage

    Translation from Sino-Orwellian to plain English:

    After crashing into the sea upon launch, PLAN has decided to claim that the orbiter is doing so well they've sent it off into deep space, never to return.

    Except, I believe at a minimum, the US and Russia have the tools to verify this, and would have tracked it had it crashed into the ocean. Possibly anyone with ICBMs or a space program.

    I'm pretty sure if anybody tried to 'claim' they'd gone to L2 but had crashed into the ocean ... it would be easy to disprove them. There's likely enough ground-based observation equipment to be able to confirm this.

  • by Nyeerrmm (940927) on Thursday June 09, 2011 @02:44PM (#36392728)

    Are we? We're cutting back on Apollo-style manned stunts, but thats about it. We have a moon mission and two deep space missions launching in the next 6 months, with plenty already in flight and plenty more in development. The last round of mission prioritization pushed to do a lot of smaller missions rather than a few big ones -- different, but certainly not cutting back.

  • by Whiternoise (1408981) on Thursday June 09, 2011 @03:02PM (#36392932)
    WMAP, Herschel and Planck are currently there. It's a useful spot for deep space monitoring because the Earth is always partially blocking radiation from the sun, and it [L2] is always in the same place relative to the Earth. Although Wikpedia doesn't say it, the L2 point is also the least energy intensive route to exit a 2-body system (neglecting doing things like slingshots). I would imagine that this is the reason that L2 was chosen rather than out of some deep interest in the point itself. Either that or they're kamikazi-ing into our space telescopes...
  • by SoTerrified (660807) on Thursday June 09, 2011 @03:08PM (#36392988)

    And we're cutting back. What do they know that we don't? Hmm...

    What do the Chinese know that we don't?
    Math [nytimes.com]
    Science [bloomberg.com]

    And in the US, we want creationism taught in biology classes and forbid schools from using the word 'gay'.

    'Nuff said.

  • by CharlyFoxtrot (1607527) on Thursday June 09, 2011 @03:45PM (#36393340)

    That's because the US makes a big effort not to kill civilians,

    While the US doesn't generally engage in atrocities (though there have been instances e.g. in Vietnam [hnn.us]) their track record isn't exactly stellar. There's a big effort to keep it out of the US media, I'll grant you that but in the latest Iraq war there were a lot of reports of bombed hospitals [commondreams.org] and the like available to us not dependent on the US media.

    not to plunder and destroy everything but rather protect and rebuild.

    That's a joke, it's been true in exactly 1 case: world war 2. Again, in the latest middle eastern wars the "rebuilding effort" seem to be schemes to throw money at corporation friendly to the regime like Halliburton. What is built isn't worth shit, or it only gets half done and is of poor quality, funds go missing (9 billion [aljazeera.net] of Iraqi oil money "missing" at last count), etc. (See for example Scandals, Military, Iraq War, Graft and Fraud [beachblogger.net]

    If they shifted to WWII era conquest and occupation you'd see profits - and roughly as much resentment as against the nazis (hello Godwin). The smart weapons are ridiculously expensive compared to just bombing the fuck out of everything. If they stopped giving a shit about protecting civilians and only protected themselves, answered all attacks with massive force, terrified the civilians into cooperating with them rather than Al-Quaeda you'd see costs plummet and profits soar. So it's not that war can't be profitable, just not the way the US is running them now.

    The wars are plenty profitable. Not for the US government but for arms dealers, the corrupt contractors that swarm all over the occupied territories and the politicians that retire to cushy jobs on their boards. Follow the money (if it doesn't go "missing" that is.)

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