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China Moon

First Commercial Mission To the Moon Launched From China 73

mbone writes with news about the first privately-funded spacecraft to travel the Moon. Cold War competition between superpowers dominated the first decades of space travel and exploration. Individual governments took the lead, bankrolling most of the process in the name of competition and nationalism. Ultimately international cooperation and collaboration took root, and the landscape is already very different. The present and future of space exploration is more collaborative, more international, and involves both space agencies and private companies. One such project is the combination Chang’e 5-T1 and Manfred Memorial Moon Mission (4M), which launched together last Thursday. Both projects are testbeds for ideas: Chang’e 5-T1 is a prototype for a robotic probe intended to return samples from the Moon to Earth, while 4M is a simple communications experiment encouraging amateur participation. But the intriguing bit is that 4M is a project of the private Luxembourg-based company LuxSpace, while Chang’e 5-T1 is a Chinese project, and the whole endeavor was launched on a Chinese rocket.
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First Commercial Mission To the Moon Launched From China

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  • by Taco Cowboy ( 5327 ) on Monday October 27, 2014 @02:15AM (#48238431) Journal

    I am from China. At the time I left China it was really deep in communism, so deep that the entire society went upside down and a lot of people died because of it

    But the China of today is very different. China of today is much more capitalistic than the United States of America --- since I am from China and that I am a citizen of the United States of America after staying in the US for decades, if I am to compare the two I would say that the USA is becoming more and more socialistic (turning more and more pinko) while China has turned blue, deeeeep blue

    • Re: (Score:1, Funny)

      by amplesand ( 3864419 )
      Maybe so. But UK and Japan will prevail too, whence the Weyland-Yutani Corporation is a British/Japanese conglomerate. If you've seen the documentary you would know that Weyland-Yutani is even more daaark deeeeep blue; not that anyone would hear you scream that anyway.
    • by Anonymous Coward

      But is that inherently a good thing? I mean, yes, the US pretty much dominated the later part of the 20th century and the space race, but let's not forget the USSR accomplished much as well.

      I guess what I'm saying is that there are intelligent ways to pursue socialism (which the US is failing miserably at) as much as there are intelligent ways to pursue capitalism (which China is failing at as witness by their pollution).

      Somewhere amidst these two, there has got to be a better way.

      • by Anonymous Coward

        Europe maybe?

    • by andy_spoo ( 2653245 ) on Monday October 27, 2014 @02:52AM (#48238501)
      Let's just hope that the Chinese never find life on another planet, because the first thing they'll do is eat it!
      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by Tablizer ( 95088 )

        Let's just hope that the Chinese never find life on another planet, because the first thing they'll do is eat it!

        LOL! If this remark doesn't end up +5, I'm gonna eat slashdot (please, no Dice-already-has jokes).

        Seriously, Chinese are obsessed with food and cooking. It seems almost half their conversations are about food. (I took Chinese language courses once.)

        Maybe that's a good thing. In the US we typically ignore food until we are really hungry, then grab a quick Greaseburger to satisfy our hunger. It's n

    • You don't say overtly that it's a bad thing that the United States has socialistic constraints on its capitalistic economy... and it's not. Socialism - NOT Communism - done well is a far better economic system for advanced societies than capitalism. Better to call it mutualism or voluntary socialism. In the context of any advanced society pure capitalism can never be done well; it reaches a peak benefit - the United States has passed that point - and then begins to cause irreparable harm that leads to eventual economic and social collapse. It's a cyclic process that repeats as long as capitalism is the economic law of the jungle. We must evolve our species to more naturally cooperate rather than compete and combat.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Anonymous Coward

        I think you're quote correct that capitalism is not applicable to advanced society. And it's because a society with the modern level of complexity violates one of the fundamental precepts of capitalism: that individual actors are knowledgable about what they're in the market for.

        It's difficult to speak of certain points (since the behavior of Society since the industrial revolution up to the present has been a highly dynamic, non-equilibrium process, unlike the feudal era preceeding it) but it is clear that

        • by macraig ( 621737 )

          That is certainly a significant part of it, an aspect I have observed and described in the past. There's more to it than just that. Socialism gets a bad rap because humans aren't yet evolved to make it naturally work voluntarily on a massive scale; it works well enough at an intimate village scale, but not for an entire nation. That it is voluntary is critical, because what's the point of an ethical economy if unethical force is required to establish and maintain it? That is why Communism fails miserabl

          • by dwywit ( 1109409 )

            We've a lot of evolving to do before socialism can work on a national scale. At the point where it becomes a government function to weigh in and distribute the wealth (e.g. with over-generous welfare handouts) it becomes a disincentive to work, i.e. if I can get free money from the government, why should I work?

            • At the point where it becomes a government function to weigh in and distribute the wealth (e.g. with over-generous welfare handouts) it becomes a disincentive to work, i.e. if I can get free money from the government, why should I work?

              Even in the Nordic countries with their generous welfare states, the great majority of people get up and go to work everyday. Even among the people who don't work and get some kind of public support, many are pursuing a degree, or in fact working some small job under the table. A lot of people would be bored without some routine, and most people want the nice amenities they could buy beyond what a basic income scheme would provide.

              In any event, as we move towards increasing automation, at some point we will have to stop thinking it a bad thing when a person chooses not to work, if the only jobs he/she could do would be artificial makework. In the past, retraining redundant workers allowed them to stay productive, but now so much of what people were retrained to do is being automated away. While the new "creative economy" or "internet economy" has offered some new markets, the world only needs so many Perez Hiltons [perezhilton.com], for example, and it would be unreasonable to expect the masses of unemployed workers around the world to become professional bloggers just for the sake of "not being unemployed".

              • by dwywit ( 1109409 )

                Whoops, forgot about Scandinavia (blame my newly-acquired homebrew kegging system). I'm expressing dismay about the size of the welfare budget here in Oz, and my experiences with people who game the system. I've known professional tertiary students who were smart enough to claim and collect 2 or even 3 student allowances by using fake identities. They liked student life so much, it was preferable to going out and actually getting a job.

                I receive some welfare myself, mainly an income supplement for dependent

                • by AmiMoJo ( 196126 ) *

                  It's a trade off. The more checks and security you put in, the harder it is for legitimate recipients to claim what they are entitled to. While I'm all for reducing fraud, I'd say it's only worth it if it doesn't negatively impact the majority of honest claimants too much.

                  In the UK pensioners get a winter fuel allowance. It isn't means tested in any way, so even the rich get it. There were mumblings about making it only for people below a certain income, but then some people who need it wouldn't get it and

                  • by catprog ( 849688 )

                    And the more checks you put in the money you have to spend making the checks and less money on the people who need it.

              • Before we begin to stop thinking that, we'll have to consider a few hard questions. In the Netherlands, there is a growing group of people who have no intention to ever apply for a paying job; they are happy to get by on state benefits, some odd jobs on the side, and a more simple lifestyle. For some this is a life choice, but for others it's a matter of financial incentives: these people could perhaps find work, but would you get up early 5 days a week to work for a tiny increase in your income? In fact
              • by itzly ( 3699663 )

                A lot of people would be bored without some routine

                Sleeping, eating, fucking and playing on the Xbox constitute a routine, right ?

            • At the point where it becomes a government function to weigh in and distribute the wealth (e.g. with over-generous welfare handouts) it becomes a disincentive to work, i.e. if I can get free money from the government, why should I work?

              You have it completely and totally backwards. As long as the tax system does not interfere with making more money resulting in taking home more money, there will always be incentive to make more money. Granted, it may fall off after some point, but that point is well above the point at which citizens of the USA stop gaining more happiness with more money, around 60k/year. Once your needs are met, which includes being able to have some fun, money doesn't make you happier.

              On the other hand, as long as the wea

          • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

            by drinkypoo ( 153816 )

            Socialism gets a bad rap because humans aren't yet evolved to make it naturally work voluntarily on a massive scale; it works well enough at an intimate village scale, but not for an entire nation.

            And that, friends, is why some of us fear a massive centralized government. I am not afraid of government, I am afraid of government not under citizen control. There is no representation in our supposedly representative democracy, and thus precious little democracy as well.

          • by itzly ( 3699663 )
            I don't even know that it works voluntarily on an intimate village scale. I would expect that people who misbehave in small communities to be punished in one way or another.
          • Socialism gets a bad rap because humans aren't yet evolved to make it naturally work voluntarily on a massive scale

            Not true. Socialism involves group ownership of the means of production (i.e. wikipedia "Socialism is a social and economic system characterized by social ownership of the means of production and co-operative management of the economy, as well as a political theory and movement that aims at the establishment of such a system").

            The problem is that this removes the element of individual incentive that is necessary to deal with the complexity of the world.

            This isn't something we can evolve to deal with on any

      • It's not socialism that's holding is back, but our fear of science and its applications. China romps because it has a number of engineers in high government positions, so its overall policy is that Big Things Get Built.

      • by Xordan ( 943619 )

        Mutualism is a real economic theory (though inconsistent with reality, being based on the LTV). As for 'voluntary socialism' - I think the category you're looking for is 'anarchism' - which wouldn't even be recognised as 'socialism' by most of today's population (largely because it isn't - volunteering the capital you create for the social good is different to the capital you create being owned by society).

    • by Dahamma ( 304068 ) on Monday October 27, 2014 @03:15AM (#48238579)

      You are equating socialism with communism ("pinko")? Really?! You'd think with a vested interesting in understanding the governments you'd have learned more by now...

      Communism is a joke, there are no actual "Communist" countries. China is a capitalist totalitarianism (and interestingly Russia has basically become that as well, though through a very different path). The US is a capitalist democracy (and calling it socialistic is a joke as well - look to Europe for socialist democracies, some of which are doing pretty damn well).

      And while the US may be poorly functioning with its democracy (as in deadlock), I'm still going to stand by a belief that mass idiots electing random idiots is still better than a few idiots telling everyone else what to do and imprisoning those that disagree with them.

    • Nope. (Score:2, Interesting)

      by khasim ( 1285 )

      ... if I am to compare the two I would say that the USA is becoming more and more socialistic (turning more and more pinko) while China has turned blue, deeeeep blue

      You might want to compare the limits of freedom for individuals in both countries.

      And then look at "Totalitarianism" and "Authoritarianism" in addition to "Socialism" and "Capitalism".

      European Democracies tend toward Socialism without the "pinko" label.

      Or, to put it another way, who ran against China's current President in the last election and

      • by Anonymous Coward

        Don't confuse Democracy with Economics. You can have a democratic socialist state and you can have a totalitarian capitalist state and there are numerous examples of all possible combinations.

    • by Anonymous Coward

      It's more faux capitalism in China, that appears capitalist on the surface because of the rampart consumerism and wild west corporate behavior. Unlike in the West most major banks in China belong to the state, lend money to the vast complex of state owned enterprises and take direct orders from the state. Where in most cases the state = the party. These companies play in an entirely different playing filed as they are owned and thus protected by the state. Private and international banks play a minor role,

    • You are confusing increasing growth, with bigger.

      China has been so far removed from capitalism for so long that small-medium steps in that direction cause major changes. In China there is still the Government overhead to make sure you don't cross the line, which is rather rigidly set. In the US we hear about the rise in socialism but it is just because we had so little before.

  • Is it any surprise that when you regulate everything and anything - It pushes people who have money someplace else?

    • by Tablizer ( 95088 )

      But China is also getting all the bad sides of de-regulation: pollution, poor and unsafe working conditions, long work hours, growing inequality, and crony-capitalism. It's kind of like the USA during the late 1800's when the down-sides of unfettered big business started growing to extremes.

    • by Anonymous Coward

      I would rather live in a clean city, thanks to those "evil" regulations than choke on the fumes wherever you go. I bet the Chinese would want a lot more EFFECTIVE regulation and it will slowly get them. You should move there.

      • That's why in the Communist era everyone loved the sparkly clean environment of East Germany and industrial Poland, not to mention that unique Ukrainian nuclear game preserve.

  • Yawn (Score:5, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday October 27, 2014 @03:11AM (#48238559)

    The summary and article call it "the first privately-funded spacecraft to travel the Moon", but it appears to be nothing more than payload that will be dumped off a Chinese (publicly-funded) rocket in an orbit that will take it around the moon and then back to earth.

    It would be more accurate to call it the first privately-funded piece of cargo carried to lunar orbit by a publicly-funded rocket, but I suppose that would kill the capitalism boner all the Randroids got upon reading this story.

  • Let's face it, without some competition, the USA would sit around with its thumb up its ass.

    • by jandersen ( 462034 ) on Monday October 27, 2014 @05:44AM (#48238867)

      Let's face it, without some competition, the USA would sit around with its thumb up its ass.

      Well, what could we expect, when the space programmes of the US and USSR were, in large parts, no more than dick-waving? The Chinese are quite naturally milking their space program for its publicity value, but they have their eyes firmly on the commercial and political power objectives in the long term. I wish them all success with it - it can only benefit us all, if space exploration becomes sustainable or viable or whatever the word is. And hopefully this will spur the West and Russia on to try to do better.

  • Correction (Score:5, Informative)

    by wonkey_monkey ( 2592601 ) on Monday October 27, 2014 @05:02AM (#48238749) Homepage

    It's the first deliberate commercial mission to the moon.

    I forget the details but there was a commercial satellite that ended up in the wrong orbit, and the easiest way to fix it was to send it out around the moon and back. Okay, it didn't do any actual science or anything, but still.

    • Really? Considering normal moon missions need a significant boost to get to the moon, how did a commercial satellite do that?

      • Re:Correction (Score:4, Informative)

        by FireFury03 ( 653718 ) <slashdot AT nexusuk DOT org> on Monday October 27, 2014 @09:18AM (#48239671) Homepage

        Really? Considering normal moon missions need a significant boost to get to the moon, how did a commercial satellite do that?

        Inclination changes are really expensive. By comparison, a Hohmann transfer orbit to the moon and back can be cheaper and can use the moon's gravity to change inclination. The Apollo missions used a free-return trajectory rather than Hohmann transfer orbit since they needed to get to the moon quickly (don't want a bunch of astronauts spending a few months in deep space), which is why they needed significantly more delta-V. Its worth noting that a commercial satellite generally has a significant amount of station keeping fuel since its expected to stay in service for many years - sacrificing a few years of service is reasonable if the alternative is to completely abandon the satellite because its in the wrong orbit.

        I think in the incident in question, someone (Lockheed?) ended up patenting the manouver...

        • AMC-14 was the 36th A2100 spacecraft and was expected to provide more than 15 years of service life. SES and Lockheed Martin explored ways to attempt to bring the functioning satellite into its correct orbital position, and subsequently began attempting to move the satellite into geosynchronous orbit by means of a lunar flyby (as done a decade earlier with HGS-1). In April 2008, it was announced that this had been abandoned after it was discovered that Boeing held a patent[5] on the trajectory that would be required.[6] At the time, a lawsuit was ongoing between SES and Boeing, and Boeing refused to allow the trajectory to be used unless SES dropped its case.[6] Another company has expressed interest in purchasing the satellite, however SES have begun procedures to expedite the satellite's immediate de-orbit.[6] While it is expected that the patent would not stand up to legal challenge, SES intend to de-orbit the spacecraft in order to collect the insurance payout.[6] If this attempt had been successful, the extra use of fuel needed to correct the orbital error would have significantly reduced AMC-14's originally expected service life of 15 years to just four.[7][8][9]

          http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/A... [wikipedia.org]

          Freaking patents. So a perfectly good, probably multi-million-dollar satellite goes to waste because two companies are squabbling over intellectual property. Ugh.

  • Crowdfunding (Score:5, Interesting)

    by pablo_max ( 626328 ) on Monday October 27, 2014 @05:08AM (#48238761)

    I would think that something like a moon hab or station would be perfect for crowd funding.
    I think that space is one thing that tons of people are willing to spend money on. I would be willing to put up a few hundred bucks, even if I get nothing in return. So long as the idea is realistic and gets us going in the right direction.
    Maybe I will never be able to go into space. At my age, it is likely I won't, but I can at least dream that my kids will go.

    • by AmiMoJo ( 196126 ) *

      Crowd funding will only get you a few million tops, you would need billions to do a manned mission to the moon, let along a habitat.

      Lobbying your government is the best bet.

      • hmm, I am not sure that is really true.
        I mean, a video game was able to get 59 million so far. A video game!
        I would expect it is possible to get much, much more than that for something awesome.

    • by Xordan ( 943619 )

      I've wondered about the viability of crowdfunding for a wider range of space science. I would be pretty excited about handing over a few thousand $ to help fund a mission like Kepler (even better if I could additionally direct some of my taxes that way - similar to a charitable donation). I'm not sure that there would be enough interested people though; people really willing to cough up the $, not just express interest in someone else doing that.

  • The US government and NASA sit there with their collective thumbs up their collective asses.

  • We are officially done. Welcome to the second tier status of states, like Argentina, Iran, Greece and so forth.

  • Is this moon landing supposed to be real?

    Stanley Kubrick is no longer alive.

Unix soit qui mal y pense [Unix to him who evil thinks?]

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