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Space China Moon

Chinese Chang'e-3 Lunar Rover On Its Way After Successful Launch 101

savuporo writes "The Chang'e-3 lunar probe, which includes the Yutu or Jade Rabbit buggy, blasted off on board an enhanced Long March-3B carrier rocket from the Xichang Satellite Launch Center at 1:30 a.m. (12.30 p.m. EDT). Landing is expected on December 14, at a landing site called Sinus Iridium (the Bay of Rainbows), a relic of a huge crater 258 km in diameter. Coverage of the launch was carried live on CCTV, with youtube copies available."
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Chinese Chang'e-3 Lunar Rover On Its Way After Successful Launch

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday December 01, 2013 @05:47PM (#45570187)

    A lot of China's ruling class have engineering degrees (vs law business backgrounds for US critters) as they are deemed "safe". They also don't worry about the next election as they play long term. So do expect they would be more interested in science, technology and anything that would make them money in the long run.

  • by savuporo ( 658486 ) on Sunday December 01, 2013 @06:36PM (#45570459)

    It is much more challenging to do tele-operated rovers on Mars

    Nobody disputed that. A rover on the moon however is a different thing than a rover on the Mars. First, its on an entirely different celestial body - hey, there are scientific discoveries there, and potential for development. Second, teleoperated rover on the moon will have substantially different capabilities compared to martian ones - instead of 10 minute signal lag, you have 1-2 seconds, and can actually do things interactively.

    A rover on mars and a rover on moon are different things and one is not "more or less" than another. US, or "west", have done one, but not the other.

    And before you jump back with "but we had men there" - again, men on the moon are a different capability than having a long lasting rover there. Chang'e-3 mission is designed for 3 months, and it will carry out continuous observations with its instruments. Thats a tall order for any human crew for a long time to come.

  • by joe_frisch ( 1366229 ) on Sunday December 01, 2013 @06:53PM (#45570561)

    That will be the critical point. If someone takes a serous shot at a manned mars mission for example, will the US space race revive, or will we just decide that we could but don't want to. For a while we've been letting the Russians launch our astronauts into space, something that would have been unthinkable when I was growing up.

  • by simonbp ( 412489 ) on Sunday December 01, 2013 @07:02PM (#45570625) Homepage

    Actually the Apollo missions did deploy a few UV telescopes on the lunar surface. They weren't much better than Earth-orbit telescopes, and so noone has bothered since. The radar is more interesting, but probably of limited utility given the power requirements to actually penetrate deep enough to see the layered mare deposits.

    Where China is decades behind the US, Europe, and Japan is that they don't really release their science products. US missions legally must release all raw and processed data after a short proprietary period (typically a year). Europe and Japan take longer, but still do usually release all their raw data. China does not, and often waits until after the mission is over before releasing even highly processed versions of the data. The lack of raw data (and opacity of how it is processed) means that it is hard to compare to other sources, and belies any claim to actual scientific motivation.

  • Re:China & India (Score:4, Interesting)

    by lennier ( 44736 ) on Sunday December 01, 2013 @10:43PM (#45571809) Homepage

    Are you so sure that space colonization is impossible?

    Not impossible, but not nearly as practical and high-paying as colonisation of Alaska, the Australian desert, or the Pacific seabed. Ever wonder why we don't see a constant stream of high-tech utopian communes setting up greenhouses and submersible cities in out of the way places? Because if we wanted to do that, it's right there, you can use English and Anglosphere common law already, there's no launch-to-orbit fee, the land is cheap, and you get oxygen (and sometimes even water) for free. So where are all the techno-dissident libertarians living in plastic tents near Alice Springs bootstrapping themselves and their prototype 3D printers into godhood?

    It's just going to be easier to do that wearing a rebreather on Olympos Mons because spaaaaace, is that the argument?

"This is lemma 1.1. We start a new chapter so the numbers all go back to one." -- Prof. Seager, C&O 351