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 …

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  1. M Gale

    A new space race?

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

    1. Don Jefe
      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.

      1. Ted Treen
        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...

    2. Captain DaFt

      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.

    3. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge
      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.

    4. Michael Habel Silver badge
      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.

      1. Chris Miller

        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.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          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...

        2. andreas koch
          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.

          1. Fink-Nottle
            Facepalm

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

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

      2. This post has been deleted by its author

      3. Ross K
        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.

        1. Martin Budden

          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?

          1. Ross K

            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?

      4. Maharg

        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.

    5. ecofeco Silver badge
      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...

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: A new space race?

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

        Whatever (you want).

    6. MrXavia
      Thumb Up

      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!

  2. This post has been deleted by its author

  3. stizzleswick
    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.

    1. Don Jefe
      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.

      1. frank ly Silver badge

        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?

        1. MrT

          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...

          1. Michael Habel Silver badge
            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...

            1. MrT

              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.

            2. Don Jefe

              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.

              1. Uncle Slacky Silver badge

                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."

            3. HippyFreetard
              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!"

            4. TheOtherHobbes

              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?

              1. Crisp Silver badge

                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!

            5. Anonymous Coward
              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?

              1. graeme leggett

                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.

            6. anatak

              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...

        2. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge

          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.

        3. My Screen Name
          Facepalm

          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.

      2. Chris G Silver badge

        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.

        1. Michael Habel Silver badge
          Thumb Up

          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....

        2. Suricou Raven

          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.

    2. Voland's right hand Silver badge
      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.

  4. Blitterbug
    Gimp

    Heinlein was right

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

  5. AndrueC Silver badge
    Thumb Up

    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.

  6. Roger Stenning
    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.

    1. Don Jefe
      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.

    2. No, I will not fix your computer
      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".

  7. Bob Vistakin
    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.

    1. Steve Knox
      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?

    2. Anonymous Coward
      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 ..

    3. Captain DaFt
      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

      1. Bob Vistakin
        WTF?

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

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

        1. Steve Knox
          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?

    4. gregzeng
      Linux

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

      According to traditional & well known Chinese folk law, the first person in the moon is a Chinese woman. I have English as my first & only language. Perhaps others here might fill in the missing facts.

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    If the taikonauts* had to pay for their own space food

    Would that make a moon base the 1st chinese restaurant in space?

    * Chinese astronauts

    1. No, I will not fix your computer
      Thumb Up

      If the takeoutonauts* had to pay for their own space food

      * Chinese takeaway astronauts

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Heading out into the Solar System.?

    Err... It started in the Solar System and is still in it.

    They could have written: ... heading off across/through the Solar System.

    Sorry for being picky.

    1. Don Jefe
      Happy

      Re: Heading out into the Solar System.?

      Eh... When you go outside or move away from home the first time it is acceptable to say "headed out into the world". I don't think many people think that means they are going into the Earths crust.

    2. Steve Knox
      Headmaster

      Re: Heading out into the Solar System.?

      Sorry for being picky.

      Don't be. Pick a handle, wrap that pedantry in some snarky language, and throw in an icon like this:

      Needling the hacks* is considered an afternoon's entertainment 'round these parts.

      *Always good-naturedly, of course.

  10. ridley

    Moons gravity to slow down?

    "The spacecraft will use the Moon's gravity to slow down, orbit the satellite, and then soft-land using rocket propulsion."

    How does that work then? I was under the impression that you would speed up when approaching a gravity "well".

    1. Captain DaFt

      Re: Moons gravity to slow down?

      " I was under the impression that you would speed up when approaching a gravity "well". "

      It's all in the angle of approach. You can aim to get pulled in by a solar body's gravity but not hit it, and that gives you a boost. In other words, fall at it and miss.

      Or, you can aim to fly past it, but close enough to let it's gravity drag you back to slow down. in this case, fly by and get snagged.

      Or, to get technical, if the angle of approach is similar to the direction of pull, you accelerate, if they're not, you decelerate.

      In either case, the tricky part is not ending up in a crater on the surface.

      1. ridley

        Re: Moons gravity to slow down?

        Nope still does not make sense to me.

        If you are getting closer you are essentialy failling (even if only slightly tangentially) and so will be increasing your speed.

        Now I can quite understand how you can speed up or slow down by not going into orbit as you pass by an celestial body (ie the slingshot) but not how you can approach a body and slow down whilst at the same time going into orbit.

        1. Don Jefe
          Boffin

          Re: Moons gravity to slow down?

          The simplest version is that the craft accelerates during the approach to the body (the Moon in this case), and decelerates on the escape. If you want to decelerate the craft you fly against the motion of the body, with it to accelerate. The Mariner 10 craft did this at Mercury.

          The more realistic version gets into the effects of the craft on the energy of the body (Moon) and the difference between them relative to the Sun and other really complicated shit the guys in the back like.

          1. Don Jefe

            Re: Moons gravity to slow down?

            Sorry, hit submit too soon.

            Generally a manuver like this is to slow the craft some before it begins to enter actual orbit. Deceleration by gravity will not be the only method used, it just reduces the amount of powered deceleration required so less fuel is needed in the craft at takeoff and reduces mechanical stresses associated with rocket powered brakes.

        2. Fink-Nottle
          Happy

          Re: Moons gravity to slow down?

          > Nope still does not make sense to me.

          Time to get hold of Kerbal Space Program ...

          1. Crisp Silver badge

            Re: Kerbal Space Program

            Get the Mech Jeb addon. It makes fine tuning a transfer orbit so easy.

    2. Don Jefe
      Joke

      Re: Moons gravity to slow down?

      If you go round the Moon clockwise you go faster. If you go counter clockwise you go slower. Flying around the sun is the same except you to forward or backward in time.

  11. Anomalous Cowshed

    The year is 2050

    In the face of apathy, greed and incompetence among its main competitors in the space race, China has colonised the moon and established de facto sovereignty over it. Huge Chinese bases are dotted across the bleak landscape. Chinese satellites, fitted with high-tech kinetic impact missiles, orbit around it, lest any minor Earth power dare wander too close. The two Chinese characters representing China have even been inscribed across the surface of the moon in letters a thousand miles across, and are now visible from earth. The price of genuine moon rocks is now so low that fakes are no longer for sale on ebay.

    So established is China's hegemony over the moon, that in dens all over the world, mama cats have a new way of scaring their offspring into eating their food. They point to the moon and say "If you don't eat your mouse, the bad, bad Chinaman is going to come down and eat you!".

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: The year is 2050

      Oblig. Question: where is all the rocket fuel coming from, in 2050 when the oil, coal and gas have nearly run out?

      1. Ross K

        Re: The year is 2050

        Wind power?

        1. Don Jefe

          Re: The year is 2050

          Lunar Power!

      2. Chris G Silver badge

        Re: The year is 2050

        "Oblig. Question: where is all the rocket fuel coming from, in 2050 when the oil, coal and gas have nearly run out?"

        Probably the same places it is coming from now, generally oil reserve quotations are based on those reserves with a 90% probability of being recovered.

        In reality it is a small fraction of all the oil that is down there, with constant advances in technology and the economic factors that govern what is economically viable the probabilities are that we will continue to use oil coal and gas for far longer than the predicted life of current oil reserves.

        There are also ways of propelling a rocket without using anything remotely connect to fossil fuels such as Lox/alcohol although currently the Chinese are planning to use their Long March 5 which is Lox/ kerosene.

        Lox/methane (cow powered?) has been used before too.

        1. frank ly Silver badge

          @Chris G Re: The year is 2050 re. Lox/methane

          I was hoping you'd finish your post with a 'cow jumping over the moon' reference.

        2. No, I will not fix your computer
          Boffin

          Re: The year is 2050

          >>Probably the same places it is coming from now, generally oil reserve quotations are based on those reserves with a 90% probability of being recovered.

          Not really...

          >>In reality it is a small fraction of all the oil that is down there, with constant advances in technology and the economic factors that govern what is economically viable the probabilities are that we will continue to use oil coal and gas for far longer than the predicted life of current oil reserves.

          Umm....

          Primary extraction will pull up to 40% of the oil using the least amount of energy to do it

          Secondary extraction can pull up to another 50%, however the energy required to do it is significantly higher

          Tertiary methods can get up to 60% of the original oil

          Do do you notice anything? 40% + 50% + 60% = 150% which of course makes no sense, you can't extract more oil than exists, yes absolutely there are new fields, and yes absolutely there are better methods (and new higher energy methods) of getting more oil, the peak oil estimates are getting better, and as we aproach the ability to extract the magic 100% the estimates will (barring a hither to unknown source) we will know how long the oil will last saying tings like "In reality it is a small fraction of all the oil that is down there" is merely based in wishful thinking.

          >>There are also ways of propelling a rocket without using anything remotely connect to fossil fuels such as Lox/alcohol

          Have a guess where most of the liquid oxygen for rockets comes from...... Yup fossil fuels, oh yes you can just suck oxygen out of the atmosphere (like membrane compressors), but they are far more costly.

          Which kind of drives me to the final point "the economic factors", ERoEI (energy returned on energy invested), you simply can't just keep putting the cost of fuel up if it costs more to extract, because a big slice of the cost to extract is on energy expended, so if the price of that goes up so does the price you have to sell it for, and so on, until the feedback loop spirals out of control, one reason why solar energy is viable now is because it takes less energy to produce the panels than you'll get back (over time they save money), non rechargable AA batteries cost more in energy to produce than they produce, but as the original energy comes from elsewhere it's OK (well, stupid from an energy conservation perspective, but OK)

          So, are you right about 2050 fuel being from the same place? probably, even if we have hit peak oil already, if we consume oil at our current rate we have 150 years left, lets say we can extract 100% of our known oil - that's 300 years, lets be optimistic and say we can find as much oil again, another 300 years? maybe, let's hope that we have an alternative when it does run out.

  12. crayon

    @ Michael Habel

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

    Maybe he should rob the welfare department aka warfare department (aka defense department) to fund NASA?

    @ frank ly

    "Woud the ISS or the LHC be a good model for joint projects of this nature?"

    Depends on who has the final say. China expressed an interest in joining the ISS, but the US didn't want them.

  13. Vectrexer

    The Chinese are really rocking space advancements right now. Good for them!

    1. Don Jefe
      Thumb Up

      Of all the nations, the Chinese have the most justifiable reason for space advancement: Population and expansion challenges.

      Even though their birth rate has tapered off somewhat they're got a real problem if they can't figure out what to do with all their people. They can't really expand their borders significantly without running into military and political problems and huge portions of their country are not suitable for Human life. They have to do something and now is a good time to do it because they're relatively stable.

      It is significantly cheaper, even going it alone, to sort out future problems through science rather than via a military solution. Plus there's the added bonuses of new, tangential discoveries and possibly a mineral bounty from the Moon or asteroids. Plus it's a nice notch in your belt if you've got a truly functional space program.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Simple, they encourage smoking local cigarettes, at the same time as criticising it as harmful...

        That way the current generation die young of lung related illnesses...

        and simple maths explain their policy...

        2 parents create 1 child... meaning population drop to 50% over 2 generations then stabilise as that 1 child generation is allowed 2 kids per couple.. (roughly that is the policy)...

        Oh and I have heard they are putting birth control in the water supply... That'll help keep population low...

  14. amanfromMars 1 Silver badge

    Confucius Says ...... **

    In a mad, mad, mad, mad world, do moon visits equate to the handling/man management of lunacy on earth and that requires the intelligence of information that delivers one programs that supply sanity, viable imagination to build upon and create future realities which have the ignoble past replaced by enobling presents which be remotely virtually controlled and driven from secured proprietary intellectual property spaces providing media with tall true tales to tell and/or sell should lucre be the reward offered and/or sought.

    From such as would be ACE fields and quite heavenly places for AI and ICT*, is Universal Command with Creative IT Control a Great Game and one devilish beta pleasure to enjoy and share rather than hell to endure and sustain.

    And more suited for booting and lead from an Exotic Erotic East than Wild Wacky West is a pregnant question of both Dream Weavers and Nightmare Fiddlers, for such is that which confronts and challenges them to play a Significantly Better Beta Great Game?!.

    *<:-)>ACE ….. Astute Curious Endeavour

    AI ….. Advanced IntelAIgents

    ICT …… Internet Crash Testing</:-)>

    ** "Do not impose on others what you yourself do not desire."

  15. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Why pay twice?

    Effectively we're already paying the Chinese to go with our huge balance of payments imbalance.

    If we restarted our manned space program our teabaggers would probably see it as a form of welfare and stage more endless filibusters, sequesters, and cancel Obama^h^h^h^h^hRomneyCare, because Lord only knows we can't be using that kind of trickle down economics to be he'pin' the trailer park trash and the darkies pull themselves up by their bootstraps – that'd be communism.

    We should just keep on keepin' on. Keep buying cheap crap from China for Walmart and ASDA to sell to trailer park trash that can't figure out the Walmart "low prices" bait-and-switch scam; keep those balance of payments right where they are while the Waltons continue to bank billions and Walmart pays its employees below subsistence wages.

    Because we don't really care who goes, as long as someone goes, right?

  16. Darling Petunia

    You knew this was coming. The 'west' wastes opportunities for advancement by building monuments to old concepts, and feeding the egos of those 'at the top'.

    As described elsewhere we face the ever popular: 'Finders keepers. Loser's weepers'.

    Got's to find them REM (rare 'earth' minerals)

  17. Kharkov
    Facepalm

    Neil DeGrasse Tyson, He say...

    The American scientist Neil DeGrasse Tyson has said many times, and most recently on the Daily Show on Febuary 27th 2013, that, 'Once the Soviet Union made it clear they weren't going to the Moon, the US stopped going too.'

    Now the Chinese are going to do what the Americans have given up on and they're going to do it 2017 or a couple of years later. I happily predict (if I'm wrong, come see me in 2020 & I'll give you a dollar) that this will, finally, fire up the American Private Sector (possibly NASA too) to get serious about getting us into space.

    Heading out into space? No rush. What? THEY'RE going to get there FIRST? We can't let THEM get there first! Start building dicks!

    Er, rockets, I meant rockets - Freudian slip...

    Oh, and...

    Kudos China!

  18. amanfromMars 1 Silver badge

    The Future is Bright ... and more Yellow than Orange and Redskinned?

    The registered consensus here on this thread appears to be that the East has the right attitude and methodologies and the West is in a schizophrenic state of petrifying paralysis/psychotic paranoia with its IT technologies and parasitic legacy sapping systems admins?

    On having to choose and make a decision on where one can be most helpful and/or make a vast fortune, is the answer ........... well, quite obvious and not at all obvious are both equally valid, methinks, with the option containing the smarter/wiser components being the most probable dead cert favourite for those fond of a flutter and gamble/secure punt/rigged bet :-)

    Although, in a world where nothing is ever as it seems mainstream, and the obvious be obfuscated and/or redacted, is that not a gamble at all whenever one also be paid to play both home and away for the house/bank ....... as a sort of postmodern latter day sainted freelancing white knight skilled in the dark and dank and rank and secret ancient arts of protective attacking defense. ....... which be an APT ACT.

    The compass quandary though, as to which leads what to where for whoever, would still seem to remain enigmatically unanswered categorically ........ with it being quite possibly a really stupid unnecessary question with no definitive answer to be made available.

  19. khisanth

    Well I am glad to see someone actually making some progress with Moon exploration and not just sending probes to smash into the surface.

    Might be the boot up the backside NASA and the ESA need.

  20. gmciver

    I don't think they've any intention of building a manned moon base. They're just trying to get the Americans to waste money

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