China's space boffins have hatched a plan to send their very first rover vehicle to the Moon in 2013, according to reports. Shanghai Daily revealed that the country’s third Chang’e mission will deploy an orbiting vehicle with landing gear, allowing it to touch down on the lunar surface. Ye Peijian, chief commander of Chang'e-3 …
First Chinese takeaway on the moon
Good on them.
Meanwhile, the US is gazing thoughtfully at it's own navel.
Re: First Chinese takeaway on the moon
No, we're gazing at the government wasting money on idiotic stuff instead of wasting money on something worthwhile like NASA.
i'm more a fan of curry myself!
Yeah but . . .
"It's still got some way to go to compete with the US, however, which has been exploring Mars for at least nine years."
And we'd still put money on the Chinese getting humans there first.
Don't expect the West to do this for the next ten years...
They've been talking about Chang'E 3 for a while now but it's good to see it's moving forward.
We can fully expect that the sight of the little rover that could (TM) tootling about on the Moon, having come from China, will set teeth a-gnashing in Washington. There's no money to continue the Mars program, 2016 is gone and I'm not hopeful about 2018 but NASA could rattle something off to outdo the Chinese by 2016/7.
Get the states a ruler please...
It was the desire to out-do Soviet Russia that was a big driving force behind NASA back in the 50s & 60's. Perhaps the fear of being left behind by China in the next "space race" might be sufficient to find some $$.
I hope it goes well.
Launching a vehicle into space is hard.
Landing a vehicle on another planet (in one piece !) is *very* hard.
I wish them all the best.
"It's still got some way to go to compete with the US, however, ..."
True, but since the US is damned-near static, it won't be long before China passes them. Good for China, I say, if no-one else wants to take the lead.
Re: "It's still got some way to go to compete with the US, however, ..."
If the USA is static, what would that make the ESA?
The JPL accomplishment on getting robotic missions to exotic places, test-out exotic propulsion and deliver on trailbreaking flight-paths is simply unequaled. NASA's coordination of various kinds of probes, their logic and operation has simply broken new ground for humanity.
135 Shuttle launches was too much. They needed to get beyond LEO long ago. It is NASA that is fronting the money for new suppliers to do LEO-work with commercial business rules. The J-2x work is a must-have for any in-space assembly of deep-space missions. The SLS-lift system might be useful, it just needs to prove itself out.
In the meantime, the USA competes with JAXA/ESA/Roscosmos/CNSA on the older, cheaper and proven RP-1 rocket technology. NASA isn't paying for new rocket development, there.
@Beachrider "If the USA is static, what would that make the ESA?"
Good point. I can't conceive of Europe being able to do anything really significant for many years. A number of the individual nations are near bankruptcy and the whole EU thing just hasn't gelled - it is a bureaucratic nightmare. ESA has the ability to accomplish great things, but won't until there is a common will and serious funding.
The US has already accomplished great things and could go much further, if only its government stopped pissing around with NASAs funding and found some vision again.
Without a US lead I don't see anything stopping China doing pretty much what it wants beyond Earth orbit.
A US lead? No chance of that this decade, I think. They're committed to two things, one is not increasing the budget and the other is building SLS.
That said, this could be the decade that, thanks to SpaceX really lowering the cost-of-access-to-orbit, could see the private sector really getting into the act. Bigelow Aerospace, or someone using similar technology, could offer a research/test fabrication plant (small scale) and use Falcon 9's to get up and down. Remember, SpaceX is talking about building up to 10 a year.
Get the cost of getting to orbit down to something under a 1,000 dollars per kilogram (with VERY high reliability) and lots of other things become possible.
@Kharkov - 'private sector'
Ah yes, I was forgetting the impact of the private sector. Maybe the future isn't so depressing after all.
Mind you, there has to be profit in it, so there is still a need for someone to come up with the grand plans that the private sector can leap on to make their money. Either that or come up with compelling 'future profit' arguments for going out beyond earth orbit.
They're sending a Rover?
will it be a 200 series in hearing aid beige with brown velour seats?
The best of British Technology going into space....gets you right there doesn't it.
Just don't expect to find any Rover dealers up there. And if you go to a party it'll be rubbish - no atmosphere.
Chinese on the moon
Let's hope they don't all leap at the same time
Kudos to the Chinese programme !
It seems to be proceding at a steady, methodical, step-by-step pace, abstaining from attempts to take giant leaps which risk costly failures and setbacks. My guess is that they have learned from their own history - both that which stretches back thousands of years, and more recent events....
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