back to article China confirms plans for first Moon visit later this year

China has confirmed it is on track to land a rover on the Moon later this year to scoot across the surface analyzing dust and rock samples. "Chang'e-3 has officially entered its launch stage, following its research and manufacture period," reports the official Chinese news agency Xinhua. The Chang'e-3 probe, first revealed last …

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A new space race?

Watch how quickly those abandoned NASA projects get un-abandoned now.

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Pint

Re: A new space race?

I really and truly hope you are correct.

I don't have much hope though. Our government has far too many petty people in office worried about getting their names on bills and who despise anything remotely science based* that it wouldn't surprise me if they voted to close NASA permanently.

*They do support fossil fuel exploration, cows and research into explody things.

Beer, cause those wrinkly knob ends in Congress just make me want to stay drunk.

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Re: A new space race?

I doubt it. NASA has lots of specs for rockets that, so far, always end up cancelled.

But ask them about a manned vehicle?

Spokesman: "There's no funding for it at this point, but one is in the design stage."

Sound exciting! Can you tell us more about it?

Spokesman: "It seats three. 'Five sir.' Ahem, it seats three comfortably, but can be extended to five."

But what's it's intended mission/range? Mars? Moon? ISS?

Spokesman: "It has long range capacity."

Could you be more specific?

Spokesman: "Long. Range. Capacity."

No doubt being researched by 'Top. Men.', eh?

Spokesman: "SECURITY!"

So no, I don't expect any manned missions from NASA in the forseeable future.

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Big Brother

Re: A new space race?

> Watch how quickly those abandoned NASA projects get un-abandoned now.

You wish.

A moonshot isn't Good for Israel. So no.

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FAIL

Re: A new space race?

I wish... But, I fear your forgetting your history. The "Space Race" was a "Civilian Spin" on the Arms Race of the early 60's to build better Rockets... e.g. to build better ICBM Rockets. Without having to build ICBM Rockets per-say. Besides Osamba already robed NASAs cradle for its Milk Money so he could fund his Healthcare Scheme.

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Hint for Herr Habel

Don't use latinate tags, such as e.g. or per se, unless you know what they mean and how to spell them.

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FAIL

Re: A new space race?

Besides Osamba already robed NASAs cradle for its Milk Money so he could fund his Healthcare Scheme.

Osama should spend some money on education. You can't spell, and "per-say" isn't the same thing as "per se".

What you meant to write was:

America already robbed NASAs cradle for its milk money so it could fund its so-called "war on terror", build more bombs and pay compensation to the families of innocent Afghans and Iraqis that the military killed in error.

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Anonymous Coward

"...unless you know what they mean and how to spell them."

If you extend that principle to words in general, the Great Silence will fall...

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Boffin

Re: A new space race?

You wish. Hell, I WISH.

But no, the status quo is stuck on stupid.

China has already built a space station... without international help. Sure, it's no bigger than a popup caravan, but they did it on their own. And they WILL be expanding it.

China has successfully launched a 3 man capsule several times.

China has high speed trains everywhere. Thousands of miles in fact. And the longest mag-lev train in the world. Built by Germans, but who else has one? Not even the Germans.

They have their own GPS satellite system.

They build 85% of ALL the world's consumer electronics.

They absolutely dominate commercial ship building.

Now compared that to our manned space program and high speed trains and shipbuilding.

Oh wait...

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Pint

Re: A new space race?

@Don Jefe

Wow! Your Congress sounds just like our House of Commons or Whitehall...

Guess I'll join you in a beer...

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Headmaster

Hint for Chris Miller - Re: Hint for Herr Habel

That would be " Hint for Herrn Habel".

Don't use a German address unless you know how it works and how to inflect it correctly.

Wer im Schlachthaus sitzt, sollte nicht mit Schweinen werfen.

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Facepalm

Re: Another Hint for Chris Miller - Hint for Herr Habel

Don't use the word 'Latinate' unless you capitalise it.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: A new space race?

"But no, the status quo is stuck on stupid."

Whatever (you want).

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Re: A new space race?

and pay compensation to the families of innocent Afghans and Iraqis that the military killed in error

What about the ones they kill on purpose?

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Re: A new space race?

Stuff NASA, the USA administration makes any international cooperation annoyingly complex...

I want the ESA to start chatting with China on partnering on their Station and the moon base, China may have the money, and some decent engineers, but us Europeans have plenty to add to the mix! with the ISS due to de-commission in a few years its time to find a new orbital partner for manned exploration!

Oh and the UK should get directly involved in Human Spaceflight, no more holding back our funds!

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Re: A new space race?

Anyone else find it odd that any Americans who are think the worst thing Obama has done is try and get America a half decent healthcare system like the rest of the civilised world also seem to prove their ignorance on either the subject matter they are talking about, or the way they go about explaining their point?

The worst thing about Obama care is he was forced to back track and the healthcare bill is a fraction of what he wanted to put in place.

Saying that 50% Mitt wanted to put the same thing in place, just like he did while he was governor, problem was he had to be seen to be against it otherwise the Republican party would have done a Ron Paul on him, but that’s beside the point.

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Re: A new space race?

What about the ones they kill on purpose?

On-purpose on-purpose?

Or "my anti-malaria medication made me insane and I shot 16 people 'cos I thought they were trying to kill me" on-purpose?

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Boffin

I honestly do not care who does it...

...but I do believe a permanent settlement on the Moon--or in a circumlunar-orbit space station--would be a huge benefit in the long run, for a bunch of reasons. If NASA can't get the funding, I don't really care whether the Chinese, the British, Burger King or Walgreen's do it. So long as it's done.

Yes, I know it's a huge amount of resources. So let whoever has the money do it, and hope they're nice about it: remember the USSR and the US played nice even during the cold war, sharing each others's space labs (though the USSR actually put more effort into it than the US did, if you consider MIR).

This is about the future of mankind as a whole. Hopefully, the Chinese (if successful!) will realise that and act accordingly. Think about the possibilities.

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Pint

Re: I honestly do not care who does it...

You are correct, it should be about the future of all mankind. But I can already picture the shitstorm when whatever country establishes a base first claims the moon as sovereign territory. Which you just know is going to happen. It will be really hard to argue against them or dislodge them because no one else remembers how or has the resources (or willingness to use them) to get back up there.

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Re: I honestly do not care who does it...

I just wish they'd do an international effort, which would result in more resources being available for any effort. I can imagine engineers and scientists working together on a project of this nature but I doubt that political interference would be far away though. Woud the ISS or the LHC be a good model for joint projects of this nature?

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MrT
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Obligatory Bill Hicks quote...

"Take all that money we spend on weapons and defenses each year and instead spend it feeding and clothing and educating the poor of the world, which it would pay for many times over, not one human being excluded, and we could explore space, together, both inner and outer, forever, in peace."

He had a point, even if it is unlikely to happen any time soon...

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Re: I honestly do not care who does it...

Dislodging anyone from a (sovereign) moonbase without having one yourself would be quite difficult, especially while they are throwing large rocks down the gravity well at you.

Luna has only 1/6 the gravity to overcome and I'm guessing there are a few large handy rocks to throw.

Best tactical answer would be to shoot down their re-supply missions from earth or whack 'em with a spare satellite when they reach Earth orbit.

Maybe a nice space war would take peoples minds off their troubles and at the same time stimulate the economy and interest in space.

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Re: I honestly do not care who does it...

> Would the ISS or the LHC be a good model for joint projects of this nature?

The ISS certainly not. An open-ended money sucker and political golfball, yield tincans in orbit for 23 billion freshly printed money. Okay.jpg.

The LHC is better. Yields amazing results and research for < 5 billion (even with major delays and max energy lowered from 14 TeV to 12 TeV or so, which is still in the future)

But the LHC has a clear goal and committed people - the ISS does not. Getting some stuff into orbit is vague. So is getting some stuff on the moon. Politicians will enter the fray. Then it goes downhill.

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FAIL

Re: Obligatory Bill Hicks quote...

Show me One example, where throwing Money out the Proverbial like that has ever worked!

If you think defense spending is a huge wast of cash? Ask yourself this.. When was the last time you were invaded by say the Russians or Germans? I'm gonna guess the answer was "Not in your lifetime..." So perhaps.... Just perhaps this Defense Spending thingy is actually doing what its supposed to do...

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Re: I honestly do not care who does it...

As a fan of the Gundam series I'd love to see a "Colony Drop" if only Once....

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MrT
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Re: Obligatory Bill Hicks quote...

Not my quote, but Bill Hicks. I don't think that defence spending is a waste of time, having at least had armed forces experience in Cold War West Germany in the 80's. I quoted it to balance out everyone who wants a moonbase yesterday, who like me watched the first manned moon missions and thought it the start of something exciting. That quote is the opposite end of the scale, both unattainable or unacceptable. But the sentiment is right, just the current balance is wrong - we're spending too much on one thing and not enough on the other.

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Devil

Re: I honestly do not care who does it...

That is not the plan.

1. They do not want to go to the moon for fun - they want to use its resources (read their space program roadmap). So I would not expect them to be in a particularly sharing mood with regards to that.

2. They also quite clearly state that they intend to do it alone. So once again, sharing is not to be expected.

So the only thing "sharing" nations can (and should) do about it is to clean the dust off the 35 year old drawings and get something on the assembly line. Stat.

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Re: Obligatory Bill Hicks quote... @Micheal Habel

Throwing money 'out like that' works really, really well for the military. If we didn't throw trillions of dollars at then we wouldn't have to deploy troops all over the world to justify the existence of a massively equipped military. A massively equipped military that hasn't had a truly successful large scale campaign since the 1940's.

People aren't into continent scale ground invasions so much anymore because there hasn't been anyone nutty enough and charismatic enough to put together the resources and public support to give it a go. Not because of an excess of firepower arrayed against them, but because true WW I & II supervillain type leaders are a rare breed.

The US began both big wars with little in the way of equipment or soldiers because they recognized the problems with maintaining a huge military. The key was being able to scale fairly quickly and build things suitable for the conflict. Now we pick and choose conflicts which are suitable to our surplus of equipment. We don't pick because it is the right thing to do or to ensure peace (never not one time worked) we choose conflicts we think we can win based on what we have. No chance for positive economic impact, reduced chance for successful campaigns and an artificial technology ceiling.

I don't know what else to do with all the money we throw at the military, but pretty much anything would be more effective than what we're doing now. We could just burn the money for heat in hobo camps and it would be more effective than the military policies we now have.

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Coat

Re: Obligatory Bill Hicks quote...

"I have a tiger repellant stick you might want to buy."

"But we don't have tigers in this country."

"Exactly..."

"Shut up and take my money!"

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Re: Obligatory Bill Hicks quote...

> When was the last time you were invaded by say the Russians or Germans?

Or by terrorists. Total military defensive posture win there.

And we still have the NSA and the TSA and the Dept of Homeland Security today. So all those trillions were totally worth it for everyone in the US, eh?

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Re: I honestly do not care who does it...

Not as easy as you think. Getting the rocks up even that little well would still need launchers and fuel, which means local manufacturing ability, which means extensive facilities for mining and processing material and fabricating parts. That or a magnetic launcher, but that requires lots of bulky materials be sent up first.

An established, self-sustaining moon base would be able to do it - but building that may just be the single most expensive project ever undertaken by mankind.

China might try it though. Just because it would give them something their government craves: Respectability. Just look at how much money they threw at their olympics hosting.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Obligatory Bill Hicks quote...

"Show me One example, where throwing Money out the Proverbial like that has ever worked!"

The Apollo programme? On schedule, zero casualties in space, plus the expertise and imagination to retrieve the situation when a spacecraft was crippled by an explosion.

Would that happen now?

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Re: Obligatory Bill Hicks quote...

Unfortunately Apollo lost a number in the theoretically less challenging area of on Earth.

White, Chaffee, Grissom in the Apollo 1 fire. Clifton Williams, who would have LM pilot for Apollo 12, died in a T-38 accident.

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Re: I honestly do not care who does it...

China has the resources, has the willingness, and has the focus to get there in an ambitious timeframe. Making this an international effort would be a horrible idea! That would turn it into a committee project with many different groups wanting to steer it their way. Insert your favorite idiom: Keep It Simple Stupid, Too many chefs in the kitchen, etc.

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Re: Obligatory Bill Hicks quote... @Micheal Habel

Eisenhower's farewell address is apt here, too:

"In the councils of government, we must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the military-industrial complex. The potential for the disastrous rise of misplaced power exists and will persist.

We must never let the weight of this combination endanger our liberties or democratic processes. We should take nothing for granted. Only an alert and knowledgeable citizenry can compel the proper meshing of the huge industrial and military machinery of defense with our peaceful methods and goals, so that security and liberty may prosper together."

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Re: And we still have the NSA and the TSA and the Dept of Homeland Security today.

Beating the terrorists at their own game by taking away american freedoms first!

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Re: Obligatory Bill Hicks quote...

Hey Habel do you live in the USA ?

When was the last time you got attacked by elephants ? Not in your life time, I guess. Well that money going to the Terrorist Elephant Attack Treaty is working like a charm. Oh...

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Gimp

Heinlein was right

...just, wow. Let's hope he was wrong about the rest of TMIAHM (kinetic WMDs)...

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Excellent news! It's about time we got back into manned space exploration. I don't much care which country does it as long as someone does.

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Mushroom

Let's face it...

We gotta get off this 'ere rock sooner than later. Having all the eggs in one basket is a recipe for extinction.

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Alien

Re: Let's face it...

It sounds cheesy, but I wish we would just go for the sake of going (where no man one has gone before). The fact that everything needs some sort of financial, political or even survival justification is sad.

But I agree with your point.

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Meh

Re: Let's face it...

>>We gotta get off this 'ere rock sooner than later. Having all the eggs in one basket is a recipe for extinction.

Where would we live?

Where could we possibly survive?

How could we possibly get there?

How can we get enough people off the planet to produce a genetically diverse viable colony?

All these answers and more revolve around lots of unmanned exploration, if there's something that we can't survive by hiding in deep caverns in the earth (which are several orders of magnitude easier than living in space) then you'll have to be a long way away, and if earth is not habitable then maybe extenction is the only option.

The nearest star outside our solar system would take 50,000 years to get to (with our fastest ever craft), even at 100 times faster, could a craft last 500 years? 20 generations?

I'm really up for investing in Mars rovers, a moon base within 20 years etc. but the long game of living off planet is a *really* long game, the priority is making sure that this biosphere is sustainable, population, power, water, food, if we can't get that right *on earth* then perhaps it's only ever going to fail *off earth*, the good thing is that if we can get population, power, water, food right here, we can use that technology "up there".

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Holmes

So the first man on the moon could be Chinese then.

That will be quite a feather in their cap. Gosh, it's almost as if they know something we don't.

Yet.

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WTF?

Re: So the first man on the moon could be Chinese then.

What do you think you might or might not know about Neil Armstrong's genealogy?

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WTF?

Re: So the first man on the moon could be Chinese then.

Damn. I can't work out if this is a level of irony and obliqueness that is completely beyond me, or whether you are, in fact, as stupid as you appear ..

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Coat

Re: So the first man on the moon could be Chinese then.

Bob... You've got it backwards.

There's a reason the US yanked Apollo 17 home early and pretended to never go back:

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1772240/synopsis?ref_=tt_stry_pl

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WTF?

Re: So the first man on the moon could be Chinese then.

I wonder why Kubricks widow is telling such awful lies then?

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FAIL

Re: So the first man on the moon could be Chinese then.

Really Bob? You're still hanging on to that ancient myth?

Here's a reference that's at least as credible as yours: http://dsc.discovery.com/tv-shows/mythbusters/mythbusters-database/apollo-moon-landing-pictures-fake.htm

But we can toss websites back and forth forever. The real proof is simple logic. If Neil Armstrong did not walk on the moon, then how do we continue to be unmolested by the Silence, even with no personal knowledge of their existence?

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