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Chinese Moon Probe Ventures Into Deep Space

timothy posted more than 2 years ago | from the been-there-done-that dept.

China 167

hackingbear writes "After completing its 6-month moon survey mission, China's second moon orbiter, Chang'e-2, was found to be in excellent condition and has abundant fuel left, and so it set off from its moon orbit into deep space, heading toward Lagrangian point L2 about 1.5 million kilometers away from the earth, or about 4 times farther out than the moon. The orbiter left its moon orbit at 5:10 p.m., according to the State Administration of Science, Technology and Industry for National Defence. The probe is expected to perform exploration at L2. It is the first Chinese spacecraft to venture beyond the moon and establish the country's capability in deep space exploration."

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167 comments

It's Running Away (2)

WrongSizeGlass (838941) | more than 2 years ago | (#36392172)

This probe is running away to deep space because it's afraid it will have to work at FoxConn if it ever returns to Earth.

Re:It's Running Away (1)

Wolvenhaven (1521217) | more than 2 years ago | (#36392190)

Well at least it wasn't built by FoxConn, otherwise it would have jumped "off" into the gravity well and smashed itself to pieces on the ground.

China's expanding in space... (2)

Volante3192 (953645) | more than 2 years ago | (#36392198)

And we're cutting back. What do they know that we don't? Hmm...

Re:China's expanding in space... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36392240)

2012 is approaching, along with the first official aliens contact.

Re:China's expanding in space... (2)

beschra (1424727) | more than 2 years ago | (#36392256)

It's what we know that they don't: been there done that

Re:China's expanding in space... (1)

tloh (451585) | more than 2 years ago | (#36392548)

Which space craft has already visited L2?

Re:China's expanding in space... (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36392662)

"The Wilkinson Microwave Anisotropy Probe, Herschel Space Observatory and Planck space observatory" (Wikipedia)

Re:China's expanding in space... (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36392840)

Wilkinson Microwave Anisotropy Probe
Herschel Space Observatory
Planck space observatory

Re:China's expanding in space... (5, Informative)

Whiternoise (1408981) | more than 2 years ago | (#36392932)

WMAP, Herschel and Planck are currently there. It's a useful spot for deep space monitoring because the Earth is always partially blocking radiation from the sun, and it [L2] is always in the same place relative to the Earth. Although Wikpedia doesn't say it, the L2 point is also the least energy intensive route to exit a 2-body system (neglecting doing things like slingshots). I would imagine that this is the reason that L2 was chosen rather than out of some deep interest in the point itself. Either that or they're kamikazi-ing into our space telescopes...

Re:China's expanding in space... (1)

jhoegl (638955) | more than 2 years ago | (#36392260)

They know that eventually we have to pay back the debt or start a war.

Re:China's expanding in space... (3, Insightful)

tripwire45 (798317) | more than 2 years ago | (#36392484)

We're in the middle of three wars (including Yemen) but our economy hasn't gotten any better.

Re:China's expanding in space... (1)

ATestR (1060586) | more than 2 years ago | (#36392738)

Actually four wars, including Yemen. Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya, and Yemen. Admittedly Iraq is pretty much over, but we've still got a fair number of troops there.

Re:China's expanding in space... (4, Interesting)

Rob Riggs (6418) | more than 2 years ago | (#36392770)

1. Iraq
2. Afghanistan
3. Libya
4. Yemen
5. Drugs
6. Poverty (lost)
7. Terrorism
8. Iran (Cyber)
9. Cuba (Economic)

I'm probably forgetting a few.

10. Pakistan (pardon us while we bomb your sovereign territory).

So, yes, three wars. For a surprisingly high value of three.

Re:China's expanding in space... (1)

jdray (645332) | more than 2 years ago | (#36393258)

11. Obesity (undeclared).

Re:China's expanding in space... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36393442)

12. Smoking

Re:China's expanding in space... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36394002)

is fought on an every widening front and is allready Lost!

Re:China's expanding in space... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36393416)

# Education

Re:China's expanding in space... (4, Insightful)

Kjella (173770) | more than 2 years ago | (#36392990)

That's because the US makes a big effort not to kill civilians, not to plunder and destroy everything but rather protect and rebuild. If they shifted to WWII era conquest and occupation you'd see profits - and roughly as much resentment as against the nazis (hello Godwin). The smart weapons are ridiculously expensive compared to just bombing the fuck out of everything. If they stopped giving a shit about protecting civilians and only protected themselves, answered all attacks with massive force, terrified the civilians into cooperating with them rather than Al-Quaeda you'd see costs plummet and profits soar. So it's not that war can't be profitable, just not the way the US is running them now.

War for Profit... WRONG (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36393182)

Its not about war turning a profit, its about staying out of a economic collapse.

Re:China's expanding in space... (4, Informative)

CharlyFoxtrot (1607527) | more than 2 years ago | (#36393340)

That's because the US makes a big effort not to kill civilians,

While the US doesn't generally engage in atrocities (though there have been instances e.g. in Vietnam [hnn.us]) their track record isn't exactly stellar. There's a big effort to keep it out of the US media, I'll grant you that but in the latest Iraq war there were a lot of reports of bombed hospitals [commondreams.org] and the like available to us not dependent on the US media.

not to plunder and destroy everything but rather protect and rebuild.

That's a joke, it's been true in exactly 1 case: world war 2. Again, in the latest middle eastern wars the "rebuilding effort" seem to be schemes to throw money at corporation friendly to the regime like Halliburton. What is built isn't worth shit, or it only gets half done and is of poor quality, funds go missing (9 billion [aljazeera.net] of Iraqi oil money "missing" at last count), etc. (See for example Scandals, Military, Iraq War, Graft and Fraud [beachblogger.net]

If they shifted to WWII era conquest and occupation you'd see profits - and roughly as much resentment as against the nazis (hello Godwin). The smart weapons are ridiculously expensive compared to just bombing the fuck out of everything. If they stopped giving a shit about protecting civilians and only protected themselves, answered all attacks with massive force, terrified the civilians into cooperating with them rather than Al-Quaeda you'd see costs plummet and profits soar. So it's not that war can't be profitable, just not the way the US is running them now.

The wars are plenty profitable. Not for the US government but for arms dealers, the corrupt contractors that swarm all over the occupied territories and the politicians that retire to cushy jobs on their boards. Follow the money (if it doesn't go "missing" that is.)

Re:China's expanding in space... (1)

im_thatoneguy (819432) | more than 2 years ago | (#36394030)

If you're going to be a douche though it's cheaper to just befriend evil-doers. Why bother mercilessly bombing countries that piss you off when you can just ignore them and pat them on the back.

Re:China's expanding in space... (2)

cavreader (1903280) | more than 2 years ago | (#36392766)

They are not too worried seeing how they are still investing in US securities and bonds. Also people tend to overestimate the amount of securities they have purchased which was only about 7% of all outstanding issues.

Re:China's expanding in space... (1)

the linux geek (799780) | more than 2 years ago | (#36392938)

The debt to the PRC is a tiny percentage of the US's total national debt. Stop repeating the "PRC owns the US" meme, because it's stupid.

Re:China's expanding in space... (1)

CharlyFoxtrot (1607527) | more than 2 years ago | (#36393528)

"Mr. Johnson, a former chief economist for the International Monetary Fund, estimated that China owns about $1 trillion in U.S. Treasury securities [washingtontimes.com], or nearly half the $2.37 trillion stock of Treasury debt held by “foreign official” owners."

That's a trillion out of a total of 14 trillion [wikipedia.org]. Plenty to economically ruin the US if they decided is worth a trillion dollars to them to do so. They just need to announce they want to sell a significant portion of it because they lack confidence in the dollar and the US economy will be in the toilet. Or they could just announce that they won't be buying half when the US next sells treasuries for the same effect.

Re:China's expanding in space... (1)

amiga3D (567632) | more than 2 years ago | (#36393646)

The problem with doing that is they will be destroying a big segment of their market. When the US economy revamped and recovered they'd find it might be a lot more competitive also. Best to leave sleeping dogs alone.

Re:China's expanding in space... (1)

Nadaka (224565) | more than 2 years ago | (#36393916)

They can't just demand the money, not legally. its on a fixed payment schedule. They can't do much more than stop issuing new debt.

Re:China's expanding in space... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36392368)

Nations go through cycles. China is scientifically where we were in the 1970s/80s.

China leaving 70s/80s ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36395126)

Nations go through cycles. China is scientifically where we were in the 1970s/80s.

That's why they are requiring Boeing, General Motors, etc to transfer technology and methodologies in order to do business in China. They will move from the 70s to 00s in years rather than decades.

Re:China's expanding in space... (3, Insightful)

GodfatherofSoul (174979) | more than 2 years ago | (#36392476)

That education and the pursuit of knowledge is a GOOD thing, not just for "intellectual elitists."

Re:China's expanding in space... (3, Informative)

thrich81 (1357561) | more than 2 years ago | (#36392616)

This is a common meme, but I don't think it holds up objectively. For example, the US currently has an operating lunar orbiter (Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter) as well as operating spacecraft in orbit around Mercury, Mars, and Saturn. The US will soon be launching a new orbiter to Jupiter. The US Dawn spacecraft will enter orbit around the asteroid Vesta this July. This is a golden age for US planetary exploration. The US manned program is hitting a slow spot, which gets all the news and it remains to be seen what happens to the unmanned budget in coming years but the US will have to do a lot of "cutting back" before anyone else is even close.

Re:China's expanding in space... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36392708)

Or, what do we know that they don't???

Re:China's expanding in space... (3, Informative)

Nyeerrmm (940927) | more than 2 years ago | (#36392728)

Are we? We're cutting back on Apollo-style manned stunts, but thats about it. We have a moon mission and two deep space missions launching in the next 6 months, with plenty already in flight and plenty more in development. The last round of mission prioritization pushed to do a lot of smaller missions rather than a few big ones -- different, but certainly not cutting back.

Re:China's expanding in space... (1)

Volante3192 (953645) | more than 2 years ago | (#36392996)

China has a few "Apollo-style manned stunts" coming up next year, planned at least. (Shenzhou program, which has already had successful manned launches.)

We've been doing planetary probing for decades. Sure, the instruments have gotten more sensitive and we can fit more into a single launch, and don't get me wrong I've got nothing against probes and orbiters (Cassini-Huygens is awesome), but we're regressing to our mid 70s where space is concerned, while China's entering their 60s.

Re:China's expanding in space... (1)

ModernGeek (601932) | more than 2 years ago | (#36393072)

Just because the next generation of manned spacecraft isn't launching a giant glider into orbit every launch doesn't mean that it is going back to the 1970s.

Re:China's expanding in space... (1)

Nyeerrmm (940927) | more than 2 years ago | (#36393138)

Well, this article and discussion are more generally on deep space exploration, which implies probes, thus why I focused on probes.

And we still have plenty of manned operations too. ISS is scheduled to fly till 2020 now, and we have multiple vehicles in development (Orion, Dragon, Dreamchaser), one of which has already flown unmanned. When I say stunts, I mean massively funded spectaculars that do surprisingly little to advance us on a sustainable path to human exploration -- Apollo gave up on that when they decided to take the fast and expensive route of a single giant russian nesting doll stack, and Constellation continued it when they abandoned ISRU and other 'risky' technologies in favor of massive rockets that kept ATK happy instead.

Re:China's expanding in space... (2, Informative)

SoTerrified (660807) | more than 2 years ago | (#36392988)

And we're cutting back. What do they know that we don't? Hmm...

What do the Chinese know that we don't?
Math [nytimes.com]
Science [bloomberg.com]

And in the US, we want creationism taught in biology classes and forbid schools from using the word 'gay'.

'Nuff said.

Re:China's expanding in space... (4, Interesting)

hairyfeet (841228) | more than 2 years ago | (#36393128)

They know that they have shitloads of money while the traitors in congress are giving tax breaks to their corporate buddies to send our jobs overseas? Look up "GE tax break outsourcing" to really make yourself sick, here is a CEO bragging, and I quote "We're not sending the low skills jobs, we are sending the good jobs because that's where the money is now" while he cashes his big giant tax rebate check. Well no shit that is where the money is, that is because you and your douchebag traitor friends have shipped more than 21,000 FACTORIES overseas since 2001. Considering we are at war I don't know why these douchebags aren't lined up and shot for the traitors that they are.

As for TFA enjoy it while you can China. These same douchebags you're making money on now will be more than happy to fuck you after they are done poisoning your land and exploiting everything they can, then they'll leave you with a shitload of superfund sites to deal with while they quietly cash out and find the next country to exploit.

Re:China's expanding in space... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36393190)

Hmm, what do *we* know that they don't?

Re:China's expanding in space... (1)

greg_barton (5551) | more than 2 years ago | (#36393372)

They know that they'll have plenty of radioactive material with which to fuel deep space craft due to their development of liquid fluoride thorium reactors. (That and they'll have limitless electricity as a cool byproduct...) See energyfromthorium.com [energyfromthorium.com] Currently China is the only state actively pursuing LFTR development, though it was invented in America at the Oak Ridge National Lab.

Re:China's expanding in space... (2)

DerekLyons (302214) | more than 2 years ago | (#36393550)

China expanding into space? Really?
 
This is one probe, and when stacked with their (proceeding at a continental drift pace) manned program... Doesn't at all compare with what the US is accomplishing [1], let alone what it has accomplished.
 
I'm as concerned about where the US is going as the next guy, but let's leave the ignorant, ill educated, and reflexive US bashing a rest shall we?
 
[1] One probe at Mercury, one rover and and two orbiters at Mars, one probe in the Asteroid Belt, and a probe at Saturn. There's also a probe in Lunar orbit. Then there's the solar observatories. And Hubble. And the Voyagers. *Whew*, I'm out of breath and I haven't listed the probes on their way or the ones under construction yet.

Re:China's expanding in space... (1)

Volante3192 (953645) | more than 2 years ago | (#36395028)

I'm as concerned about where the US is going as the next guy, but let's leave the ignorant, ill educated, and reflexive US bashing a rest shall we?

Always better to be concerned early. If, in 10 years, we're still without a manned spacecraft, the ISS is in decay due to a lack of heavy lifters to get it back in a stabler LEO, meanwhile the Chinese have Heping orbiting and regular launches to it...well, there's much more ground to cover

Plus the earlier you show concern, the bigger your 'I told you so' rights are.

Expecting to find something? (1)

sphealey (2855) | more than 2 years ago | (#36392206)

> The probe is expected to perform exploration at L2.

What do they expect to explore at the L2 point? It is just an empty spot in space.

sPh

And any alien reconnaissance satellites parked there would presumably be stealthed.

Re:Expecting to find something? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36392254)

There's stuff at L2 and more stuff planned for L2. 30 seconds of research would have answered your own question but instead you look like a fool now.

Re:Expecting to find something? (1)

Lifyre (960576) | more than 2 years ago | (#36392268)

Maybe they won't be paying attention and we'll (the human we) find them by playing a little bumper tag.

Re:Expecting to find something? (4, Informative)

tloh (451585) | more than 2 years ago | (#36392576)

From the Wikipedia article on Lagrangian point:

"The Sun-Earth L2 is a good spot for space-based observatories. Because an object around L2 will maintain the same orientation with respect to the Sun and Earth, shielding and calibration are much simpler."

Re:Expecting to find something? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36394354)

Humor, how does it work?

Re:Expecting to find something? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36393010)

No, it's a spot with at least three observatories (ours, not aliens) already parked there.

Could be an escalation of the anti-satellite wars -- major bragging rights for "first deep-space takeout"! (No, I'm not serious)

Re:Expecting to find something? (1)

jdray (645332) | more than 2 years ago | (#36393378)

More likely they said, "Hey, we're done with this moon survey mission and have a bunch of gas left. What do we do with this big collection of observation instruments? Oh, I know, let's send it out to a spot where it's good to put observatories."

Only they probably said it in Chinese.

Translation: (1, Funny)

d3ac0n (715594) | more than 2 years ago | (#36392318)

After completing its 6-month moon survey mission, China's second moon orbiter, Chang'e-2, was found to be in excellent condition and has abundant fuel left, and so it set off from its moon orbit into deep space,

Translation from Sino-Orwellian to plain English:

After crashing into the sea upon launch, PLAN has decided to claim that the orbiter is doing so well they've sent it off into deep space, never to return.

Re:Translation: (1, Insightful)

Dyinobal (1427207) | more than 2 years ago | (#36392370)

I'm not sure what it says about china but I'm not able to dismiss this theory right out of hand.

Re:Translation: (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36392486)

I'm not sure what it says about China, but I do know what it means about you.

Re:Translation: (1)

SilentStaid (1474575) | more than 2 years ago | (#36392884)

Oh, I don't know. Maybe he was just going on idle [time.com] speculation [consumerist.com].

Or just maybe some of us aren't politically correct enough to ignore the simple fact that it wouldn't be the first time the PRC (got caught) made a cover up for something that would be global news.

Re:Translation: (3, Informative)

Gohtar (1829140) | more than 2 years ago | (#36392634)

I don't find this hard to believe, a fake press release was, errr.., released by the Chinese, about one of their rockets that was still sitting on the launch pad. They called the mission a success, it even came complete with transcripts of dialogue between the astronauts and the ground.

Re:Translation: (3, Informative)

gstoddart (321705) | more than 2 years ago | (#36392642)

Translation from Sino-Orwellian to plain English:

After crashing into the sea upon launch, PLAN has decided to claim that the orbiter is doing so well they've sent it off into deep space, never to return.

Except, I believe at a minimum, the US and Russia have the tools to verify this, and would have tracked it had it crashed into the ocean. Possibly anyone with ICBMs or a space program.

I'm pretty sure if anybody tried to 'claim' they'd gone to L2 but had crashed into the ocean ... it would be easy to disprove them. There's likely enough ground-based observation equipment to be able to confirm this.

Re:Translation: (2)

shutdown -p now (807394) | more than 2 years ago | (#36392732)

I know it's kinda tricky to comprehend for some people on the American Right, but PRC and DPRK are two different countries.

How do you spell (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36392434)

'V'Ger' in Mandarin Chinese?

What Processors and OSes on Board? (1)

joelsherrill (132624) | more than 2 years ago | (#36392444)

I am curious if anyone here knows that microprocessors and OSes they are using on the craft and its instruments.

Sceptical (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36392552)

I seem to remember a Chinese press release that detailed the successful launch of a space craft including chatter between the pilots and ground crew, that came out before the rocket had even been lit....

And lets not forget the fireworks during the Olympics.

Re:Sceptical (2)

adonoman (624929) | more than 2 years ago | (#36392934)

You do realize that the US also scripts "chatter" back and forth between the ground crew and the flight crew? They very likely also write up press releases ahead of time that only get changed when something doesn't follow the plan. That China would do the same thing isn't at all surprising, or even deceiptful. The issue is one of incompetance at being unable to control release times.

Several space observatories already occupy L2 - (3, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36392750)

- the Wilkinson Microwave Anisotropy Probe, Herschel Space Observatory and Planck Space Observatory. One would hope the Chinese would take steps not only to avoid crashing into those but also to avoid interrupting the science those are performing. I'm sure the ops people for all of those craft are scrambling now to understand what the Chinese are doing and what they might have to do to compensate.

Usually all the contingencies for a spacecraft are worked out long in advance - I think it disingenuous to suggest they just decided to take a joy ride with their remaining fuel.

Re:Several space observatories already occupy L2 - (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36393444)

yeah, i have a hard time believing the whole, "we had fuel left over" bit too. on spacecraft weights are measured out to astounding precision! everyone includes a little fudge factor for unseen problems (drift etc.), but not enough to extend the mission that far. The weight that the extra rocket fuel occupied could have been used for other sensors.

the mars rovers have only continued on for so long because they are harvesting energy in situ, rocket fuel is non-replenishable and hard to get into orbit in the first place.

Re:Several space observatories already occupy L2 - (1)

jafiwam (310805) | more than 2 years ago | (#36393660)

[PLC Translated to English]We missed our target and now have no idea where the spacecraft is going.[/PLC Translated to English]

Re:Several space observatories already occupy L2 - (1)

Nadaka (224565) | more than 2 years ago | (#36394008)

Space is astronomically large. The odds of an accidental collision are astronomically small. If their satellite hits one of ours, it will have been intentional.

Re:Several space observatories already occupy L2 - (2)

vuo (156163) | more than 2 years ago | (#36394208)

These are actually in Lissajous orbits around L2. Just like a massive body, L2 is an energy minimum. You can put satellites in orbit around it, even in several different orientations even though it's empty space.

Re:Several space observatories already occupy L2 - (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36394604)

Yeah, but in all fairness, we still have a Mars Rover or two bustling about that were not supposed to last as long as they have/are/will. Opportunity. Spirit. One of them is dead : )

Alternative headline (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36392768)

"Chinese Moon Probe Delivers"

Human inherit SPACE (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36392826)

It is good to know that humans will one day treat space as their play ground. To bad its not USA humans.

Space Travel: Unfit for Humanity (0, Troll)

eyenot (102141) | more than 2 years ago | (#36392980)

Space Travel - Unfit for Humanity
by Gabriel Arthur Petrie, 11-22-2009

A lot of people on Earth would like to believe that one day, maybe even in their own lifetimes, humanity will reach for the stars in great shimmering vessels. Scientists, sci-fi fans, new-age believers, and imaginative young people around the world share a common dream of exploring and colonizing the near and distant planets, even one day meeting with fellow intelligent races in this galaxy or perhaps, given enough travel time, some other galaxy.

These dreams are all very grandiose, and as engineering visions go, even noble. That we can as a species manage to conquer the stars is a warming and supportive sentiment. That we can actually achieve it within our limited means and resources from Earth is, conversely, as flighty and half-baked as any idea anyone could have. And to actually embark upon such a project, with the world's situation as it is now and obviously for the rest of time, is selfish, rude, arrogant, perhaps sadistic, and surely despotic and tyrannical if on behalf of any government.

The resources required for such an undertaking may exist here on Earth in one form or another, but those resources are too direly needed by the planet's current population to allow it all to be seized up in some dream works that are not guaranteed to produce any positive results.

The inventions brought to us by the space programs of the past are just that -- inventions, not discoveries. There is no cosmos full of advances in textiles, communications, and soft drinks waiting for us to grab it all up. If anything, we might feel sad at the wealth of new things we have in our lives brought to us by the space program, because it means there are fewer things left to be invented in the future, therefore we face a less valuable future in space program commodities enrichment.

Anyone who unwaveringly insists that there are infinite worthwhile inventions for humans (or infinite ways to improve upon what commodities do exist) has as much sense as an inbred dog and need not read further (for objective truth is wasted upon them). I should not have to explain the faulted logic behind those sorts of beliefs, and it is sad that the space program has so many supporters by way of pure stupidity. In any case, to dispel such sturdy beliefs tends to require more example than explanation, and short of witnessing firsthand the dismal ruin of humanity due to the prolonged pursuit of this sci-fi "space-faring" drama, there is not much that can convince the shuttle-hugger to change their ways.

Now, I am not saying that the space program is pure nonsense or entirely worthless. Who knows, there may be a few more inventions or advances in Earthly science that can be mined from space program research projects, but all of this can be achieved in near space. For the sake of using the space program for mere scientific advancements in entirely unrelated fields, there is no need whatsoever to set our sights on far-off places.

And metaphor be damned: this isn't a matter of the poor, humble telescope viewer being suppressed by the superstitious monarch, or a matter of how little we would know now were it not for those brave enough to cross forbidden seas in the distant past.

Building and manning a ship, making a voyage to presumably the edge of the flat earth, these are undertakings that consumed, historically, so little resource overall that compared to today's energy consumption (in, say, Spain) it is not even a fraction of a drop in a bucket. Conversely, when we talk about travel to distant stars and humanity's future among them, we're speaking of energy consumption measurable in the mineral wealth of whole planets, starting with our own, and environmental impacts that will never, ever be recovered from, right here on our home planet. And as for suppression, there simply isn't anyone to blame any more: this is a round planet and that's all that it is, and those boundaries are more firm and more unyielding than any belief that keeps one from voyaging across the oceans. This space we inhabit is finite, and that has been proven. Not flat, but finite all the same. The cosmos, on the other hand, is so enormous that we evidently can't even see all of it. It will never, ever be completely known and recorded by humanity, ever. Period. And no evil king or humble sky-gazer need be present to make these things true.

And furthermore there is the matter of our maturity as a species, and by maturity I don't mean our rating on some pseudo-scientific scale measuring fanciful civilizations against our own for ego's sake, and I don't mean in terms of how our evolutionary age compares to the age of the universe itself or the nearest star of our own planet, or any such irrelevant blather. I mean that our cultures, worldwide, as a species, do not show the signs of docile maturity that we expect out of normal individuals who want to be active participants in the world. This immaturity is relevant to the success of any space program because people who are inevitably products of culture must somehow be mature enough to man and pilot these missions, and in a way that is presentably -- at the very outset even in the earliest stages of planning -- and honestly for the greatest benefit of mankind. And as a species, we have been sliding backward, downward, however you'd like to say it, leaving behind maturity, intelligence, wisdom, even caring enough for one on one let alone for a whole race, and we are no longer capable of sustaining the required maturity to make such ventures fruitful in completion.

And let's not forget human error. It is one thing to put a flying machine or a crop field in the hands of some people and when human error occurs to count the losses and try again. The world can still produce millions of airplanes and cropfields, at least for awhile. And among all cases of such farming and piloting and all other human endeavours, there is, inevitably, the introduction of some human error, before we even consider extra variables such as extreme weather, or cosmic debris falls, or other anomalies. We simple cannot, ever, be expected to allow such enormous resource and, veritably, our future as a species to be tossed up in the air in a gamble against what is, without argument, our only true racial legacy, which is error.

Re:Space Travel: Unfit for Humanity (1)

Volante3192 (953645) | more than 2 years ago | (#36393030)

As if reality isn't depressing enough as it is, you gotta go shit in my cheerios.

Well, I guess there's always more liquor...

Re:Space Travel: Unfit for Humanity (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36393092)

If you think humans lack the resources to attempt space travel, consider exchanging the budgets of NASA and the Department of Defense for a few years. NASA has done a fairly good job with a ridiculously small fraction of the USA's resources. Commit some small, constant fraction of humanity's annual output to spaceflight, and you will surely see better results from it than from a lot other pursuits.

Humanity: Unfit for Space Travel? (1)

rlseaman (1420667) | more than 2 years ago | (#36393262)

Um - your subject is backwards (and rather upside down). It is precisely in humanity's lofty aspirations that space travel has value. It is trivial to demonstrate that space travel cannot solve our population problems. However - solve the latter at home and the former comes back into play. There are indeed "infinite ways to improve upon what commodities do exist" - it's called evolution. The industrial revolution wasn't principally about commodities, it was about the means of production.

Re:Space Travel: Unfit for Humanity (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36393266)

Gabriel Arthur Petrie is this century's leader of the Luddites. I like how he slags off anyone who disagrees with him as "inbred dogs". Nice logical fallacy. But the reference to "inbred dogs" ties back to some of his other writings where he suggests that the foolish people of the word should be, you know, gotten rid of, to make room for more enlightened people like himself. Oh, and he is a Wikipedia contributor of course.

Re:Space Travel: Unfit for Humanity (3, Insightful)

JaredOfEuropa (526365) | more than 2 years ago | (#36393482)

The resources required for such an undertaking may exist here on Earth in one form or another, but those resources are too direly needed by the planet's current population to allow it all to be seized up in some dream works that are not guaranteed to produce any positive results.

The inventions brought to us by the space programs of the past are just that -- inventions, not discoveries. There is no cosmos full of advances in textiles, communications, and soft drinks waiting for us to grab it all up.

I choose "ever onward" over "let's stay in our caves, where it's warm". For one, there are vast, valuable resources right here in our solar system. Perhaps one day, we'll be able to profitably harvest them. And perhaps we'll invent a few things along the way, such as advances in textiles, I mean propulsion, materials, and control systems. And with those advances in science and engineering, perhaps we'll send something to another star some day, at a reasonable cost as well.

If anything, we might feel sad at the wealth of new things we have in our lives brought to us by the space program, because it means there are fewer things left to be invented in the future, therefore we face a less valuable future in space program commodities enrichment.

Anyone who unwaveringly insists that there are infinite worthwhile inventions for humans (or infinite ways to improve upon what commodities do exist) has as much sense as an inbred dog and need not read further (for objective truth is wasted upon them).

And if anything, pretty much anyone in the past who thought we had reached the pinnacle of knowledge in one field or another, has been proven wrong time and time again. Sure, it doesn't make much sense to send a probe to another star now. But anyone who unwaveringly insists that there will never be a mission to another star (or profits to be derived thereof) has as much sense as an inbred dog and need not comment further.

made in china? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36393090)

China,
The secret's out. If you can build electronics that can orbit the moon, I expect you to start making electronics that don't fall apart after 90 days of use.
Sincerely,
Spoiled US Consumer

So What?? (2)

spam4rakesh (1131931) | more than 2 years ago | (#36393142)

I fail to understand why it has to be a race. If the Chinese want to go ahead we should let them. Why is it that we want to always stop others from doing something? Do we think that we can always be the dominant country in the world ?or for that matter any other country can continue to be the dominant country for ever ?

Re:So What?? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36393910)

I fail to understand why it has to be a race. If the Chinese want to go ahead we should let them. Why is it that we want to always stop others from doing something?
Do we think that we can always be the dominant country in the world ?or for that matter any other country can continue to be the dominant country for ever ?

No one said anything about stopping them. Generally, things get done in America when there is an adversary; someone to beat, measure against, and out perform. After what WWII and the Cold War gave us, we've grown tired playing in our sand box, so we need something else.

If you've studied ancient Chinese erotic lit... (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36393330)

...the thread title has an odd ring* to it, because (in Chinese erotic literature) imagery of the moon is used as a euphemism for anal intercourse. "The jade tree approaches the full moon", that sort of thing.

(So I guess if your probe has ventured past the moon, and into deep space, the only thing to say is "Well, congratulations, you're all the way in, and the mission's a success. But I wouldn't go that much further unless you want to run into asteroids. Oh, also, there's a right turn coming up, and I'd REALLY prefer that you didn't miss that one.")

*("Heh-heh, heh-heh, you said 'odd ring'...")

insight between the words (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36393486)

"establish the country's capability"? wow. sounds so 50's, when countries had actual identities and limits, before the modern economy turned everything into a commodity. it's fascinating that Chinese state organs still think in those terms - not surprising, of course, but still charmingly dated. the truth, of course, is that anyone with the right pile of cash can go to the moon or L2 or ...

I don't know where they're headed... (1)

isomeme (177414) | more than 2 years ago | (#36393626)

...but it's not L2, at least as described in the summary. The Earth-Luna L2 point is just 64500 km further out from Earth than the center of Luna, less than 1/6 of the Earth-Luna distance.

they did at least one close pass, only 15 km up (1)

sittingQuietly (935534) | more than 2 years ago | (#36394466)

and yet still didn't get photos of the Apollo debris. it was there six months, too

this must be at least the fourth orbiter that cant find the time to photograph the stuff. Or something

of course, the Hubble telescope was supposed but didn't either.

Dear Chinese - next time please take a photo of the Apollo debris!
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