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Chinese Moon Probe Flies By Asteroid Toutatis

timothy posted about a year ago | from the picks-or-it-didn't-happen dept.

China 59

hackingbear writes "Chinese moon probe Chang'e-2 made a flyby of the near-earth asteroid Toutatis on December 13 at 16:30:09 Beijing Time (08:30:09 GMT), the State Administration of Science, Technology and Industry for National Defense (SASTIND) announced today. The flyby was the first time an unmanned spacecraft launched from Earth has taken such a close viewing of the asteroid, named after a Celtic god, making China the fourth country after the U.S., the EU and Japan to be able to examine an asteroid by spacecraft. Chang'e-2 came as close as 3.2 km from Toutatis, which is about 7 million km away from the Earth, and took pictures of the asteroid at a relative velocity of 10.73 km per second, the SASTIND said in a statement. Chang'e-2, originally designated as the backup of Chang'e-1, left its lunar orbit for an extended mission to the Earth-Sun L2 Lagrangian point on June 9, 2011, after finishing its lunar objectives, and then again began its mission to Toutatis this year. 'The success of the extended missions also embodies that China now possesses spacecraft capable of interplanetary flight,' said Wu Weiren, chief designer of China's lunar probe program."

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59 comments

all i see (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42300565)

is a cartoon
FROSTY PISS

Re:all i see (3, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42300649)

Try clicking the buttons [xinhuanet.com] below the cartoon.

Re:all i see (1)

Farmer Tim (530755) | about a year ago | (#42300657)

That's worse! If anime teaches us anything, it's that cartoon asteroids are always weapons of evil aliens bent on our destruction. Unless someone can convert the wreck of the Yamato into a spaceship we're doomed!

Re:all i see (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42300711)

Bruce Willis will save us.

Where is the photos (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42300599)

Pictures of it didnt happen!

The actual picture (5, Informative)

Kergan (780543) | about a year ago | (#42300613)

Re:The actual picture (4, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42300959)

They should rename it Potatis.

Re:The actual picture (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42301833)

They should rename it Potatis.

Looks more like Peanutis to me.

Re:The actual picture (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42303669)

And they should rename the Chang'e-2 probe Spud-nik.

EU IS A COUNTRY ?? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42300619)

Nah !! It's a conglomerate !! It's a patent troll !! It don't even have no military !! It exists only to suck money from hard working Americans !!

Re:EU IS A COUNTRY ?? (0, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42300707)

No, sucking hard-won money from excessively hard working GERMANS.

And yes, we can defend ourselves. America go to the fucking hell and take your torturers with you. Thanks.

Re:EU IS A COUNTRY ?? (1)

Worthless_Comments (987427) | about a year ago | (#42300739)

Yes, American isolationism has always worked out so well for Europe...

Re:EU IS A COUNTRY ?? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42304507)

I'd say it worked out pretty well, since we had a good habit of keeping our powder dry and not coming in until it was really called for. Compare and contrast to our situation now, where we go in at the drop of a hat for a decade in one place, and trump up reasons to be there almost as long at another. Now we might be all warred out when it really matters.

Re:EU IS A COUNTRY ?? FULL OF MINARETS !! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42301079)

And what of the minarets? You can no more "protect" yourselves from those than you can anything else. You have been subsumed by those who would ride a camel as well as a moped. And the street cars are awash in language so foreign even the bavarians cry.

and so... (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42300659)

It will give it the little gravitational push it needs to crash on Earth in 2145 or so. Thank you China.

Re:and so... (1)

poofmeisterp (650750) | about a year ago | (#42300907)

It will give it the little gravitational push it needs to crash on Earth in 2145 or so. Thank you China.

That was the plan all along. You didn't know that? :>

Too bad for NASA can't cooperate with Chinese (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42300703)

spece projects, as the politics prevents any cooperation space science.

oh no! (1)

murdocj (543661) | about a year ago | (#42300713)

Cue the "the Chinese are way ahead of NASA" posts.

Re:oh no! (1)

poofmeisterp (650750) | about a year ago | (#42300911)

Cue the "the Chinese are way ahead of NASA" posts.

Does my "their control center is a direct knock-off of NASA's" post count? Heh.

Re:oh no! (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42300913)

It used to be Soviet Russia. Chang'e we can believe in.

Actually Chang'e has been "way ahead of NASA" for an eternity. She lives on the moon with a moonshining jade rabbit FFS.

Re:oh no! (1)

arth1 (260657) | about a year ago | (#42300971)

Cue the "the Chinese are way ahead of NASA" posts.

No, they're not. The problem is that American progress is slower than American decline, which makes how far ahead NASA is mostly irrelevant.

And, unfortunately, we don't have a Hari Seldon.

Re:oh no! (1)

Teancum (67324) | about a year ago | (#42301579)

NASA is not the only "space agency" in the U.S. federal government, and it isn't even the largest (which would arguably be the National Reconnaissance Office), and the U.S. Air Force also has a separate "Air Force Space Command" which does more than its share of activity in space including the infamous X-37 [wikipedia.org] that appears to be using some of the technology developed for the Space Shuttle.

If you are critical of NASA, that criticism is justified but it is wrong to compare NASA to what the Chinese are doing as NASA is hardly what is happening in America for spaceflight. The real exciting stuff in America is happening with private companies, who are essentially telling the U.S. government to get lost and not get in their way.

Re:oh no! (1)

the gnat (153162) | about a year ago | (#42301811)

The real exciting stuff in America is happening with private companies, who are essentially telling the U.S. government to get lost and not get in their way.

This seems like a misreading to me - SpaceX is perfectly happy to do business with the US government, and it's not like they're ignoring federal regulations to do their work. A more accurate statement would be that the US government has told private companies "go ahead, we'll stay out of the way."

Re:oh no! (2)

Teancum (67324) | about a year ago | (#42303753)

SpaceX is not where the action is happening. If you think the only private spaceflight is SpaceX, you simply don't know what is going on.

Check out Armadillo Aerospace, Masten Space Systems, Scaled Composites, Bigelow Aerospace, Blur Origin, and XCor (just to name a few... I know I'm missing a bunch). Even with SpaceX their flight manifest [spacex.com] has a majority of the flights booked for commercial projects that have nothing to do with the federal government.

I guess the saying goes that if it is raining money, you haul out the buckets and grab what you can, so doing business with the government is a prudent thing if they are throwing money about. None the less it isn't even the government that is the concern.

I'd also have you listen in on hearings with the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Science, Space, and Technology [house.gov]. There are a number of members of congress that are incredibly hostile to commercial spaceflight and are openly trying to stop commercial enterprises from happening at all in space or are incredulous that commercial activities could even happen at all. Quite literally the owners of these private enterprises are telling the government to get out of their way and not mess with their businesses.

Re:oh no! (1)

the gnat (153162) | about a year ago | (#42307949)

Quite literally the owners of these private enterprises are telling the government to get out of their way and not mess with their businesses.

True, but let's at least use honest labeling: they're telling one branch of the federal government, specifically the executive branch. With a government as large and bureaucratic as ours it's inevitable that individual vested interests occasionally come to the fore, but it's unfair to slander the entire thing as if it's one monolithic entity (among other problems, many of the dissenting congressmen aren't even in the same party as the one running the executive branch and hence NASA). NASA is not at fault here.

Re:oh no! (1)

Teancum (67324) | about a year ago | (#42312147)

Some people at NASA aren't at fault. There is a huge divide going on in NASA right now between those who want to encourage private commercial spaceflight and those who don't. Lori Garver received a cold shoulder when she first visited NASA centers while she was on a "fact finding tour" for the Obama administration.... then she became their boss. I've also heard in those same congressional hearings some very negative things about private spaceflight efforts coming from NASA center chiefs and other prominent people within NASA.... not just dissenting congressmen.

The saddest one was trying to get Neil Armstrong and Gene Cernan [senate.gov] to essentially tell congress that it was a waste of money to even support commercial spaceflight efforts. This is a battle of ideas that has been happening for some time. The funny thing about that particular hearing is that Buzz Aldrin and Harrison Schmitt (ship-mates of these two other astronauts) were saying nearly the exact opposite things. This has nothing to do with political affiliation, but it does represent a huge reluctance on the part of many entrenched interests to even consider commercial spaceflight as a legitimate option for future spaceflight needs.

Re:oh no! (1)

Daniel Dvorkin (106857) | about a year ago | (#42305183)

SpaceX is perfectly happy to do business with the US government, and it's not like they're ignoring federal regulations to do their work. A more accurate statement would be that the US government has told private companies "go ahead, we'll stay out of the way."

You're interrupting a good ideological rant with facts. Stop that.

Re:oh no! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42308755)

From a completely outiside view, it rather looks like the US government is begging private companies to do something, anything, to hide the fact about the dissappearence of US space presence look like progress.

And if the US government does decrease the NASA budget even further, profit focused private companies will be the only presence US has in space. what will that mean? space tourists, sure, low orbit sattelite service, sure, a mars mission? nope.. which is a shame really, NASA has inspired more than just the american public ...

Re:oh no! (1)

iggymanz (596061) | about a year ago | (#42302491)

governmetn has has given go-ahead to manned asteroid exploration and two-asteroid mission, way beyond what the Chinese will be capable of in 12 years

Re:oh no! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42303523)

governmetn has has given go-ahead to manned asteroid exploration and two-asteroid mission, way beyond what the Chinese will be capable of in 12 years

It took the US less than a decade to go to the moon from next to nothing. Everyone knows in the back of their mind that the Chinese really put their will into it they can accomplish far greater things than the US has over the last 40 years in the next ten.

What I learned from this article (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42300757)

The European Union is a country now.

EU as whole country? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42300805)

Since when is the entire EU classified as a country? Sounds like America to me....many small 'countries' governed by large body.

By Toutatis! (4, Funny)

nospam007 (722110) | about a year ago | (#42300813)

Le ciel va nous tomber sur la tête!

Re:By Toutatis! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42301017)

Relax, little guy. Take a swig of that magic potion. Or let Assurancetourix compose a soothing melody.

Re:By Toutatis! (1)

Midnight Thunder (17205) | about a year ago | (#42302631)

Relax, little guy. Take a swig of that magic potion. Or let Assurancetourix compose a soothing melody.

For the native English speakers that would be 'Cacofonix' :)

Re:By Toutatis! (1)

manu0601 (2221348) | about a year ago | (#42305395)

Relax, little guy. Take a swig of that magic potion. Or let Assurancetourix compose a soothing melody.

For the native English speakers that would be 'Cacofonix' :)

It is funny they translated it this way. In the french original version, Assurancetourix's name has nothing to do with music. We could translate it in english as allincludedinsurence-ix

Re:By Toutatis! (1)

maxwell demon (590494) | about a year ago | (#42308273)

That's indeed interesting. In the German version it's "Troubadix", which refers not only just to music, but even to singing.

Re:By Toutatis! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42302265)

Yay! Asteroid the Gaul!

Wow (3, Interesting)

Dereck1701 (1922824) | about a year ago | (#42300837)

[whistles] Wow, how much fuel did they put in that thing? It spent around 8 months in lunar orbit, which usually eats up a bit of fuel right there, even without the several orbital changes they did while there. And then it leaves lunar orbit on its way to the Earth-Sun L2 point? I realize that once you get out of LEO the amount of fuel required to get anywhere (at least slowly) goes down exponentially but they must have packed quite a bit of fuel into that thing (I believe it is roughly the size of a walk in closet)

Re:Wow (5, Informative)

mbone (558574) | about a year ago | (#42300931)

With Weak Stability Boundary theory trajectories you can basically get from a lunar transfer orbit (or either ES or EM L1/2) to anywhere else around without spending any fuel, if you are willing to wait long enough. This pdf presentation [utexas.edu] should give you the idea.

Now, in practice you can't do it with no fuel, but if you are willing to be patient, you can do amazing things with a piddling expenditure of delta-V.

Radar did OK (4, Interesting)

mbone (558574) | about a year ago | (#42300891)

If you compare this image with the Goldstone image of Toutatis by Earth-based radar - see [xinhuanet.com]Figure 1 [nasa.gov] in Hudson et al - you can see that the Earth radar does OK, but actually going there is better. Toutatis's rotation period is 176 hours, so we won't get to see the other side in the flyby.

Note that there are a few craters, but not many (asteroid Itokawa has no craters in Hayabusa images), so as usual something is resurfacing the surface.

This should have been U.S. of A. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42300957)

Bush spent so many (innocent) lives and money on his fallacy war. It's a shame.

Re:This should have been U.S. of A. (1)

anagama (611277) | about a year ago | (#42302699)

Obama is just as well thank you very much.

(a public service announcement from the New GOP, formerly, the DNC)

Err (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42301629)

The EU isn't a country you gimboid, long may that continue.

Re:Err (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42302553)

Is that you Rimmer?

That's some acronym (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42301829)

State Administration of Science, Technology and Industry for National Defense (SASTIND)?

Either the Chinese version of DARPA just flew a satellite past a rock or they just really suck at decentralized planning.

Not that I'm a big fan of China, but... (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42302913)

Not that I'm a big fan of China, but after the DPRK craziness it makes me feel pretty good about them in comparison. Hooray for countries that aren't totally insane. It's nice to see them doing science with their rocketry. A hearty round of applause for China on this, and that' s a nice picture that the other poster linked too.

they don't treat people so dumb (3, Informative)

surd1618 (1878068) | about a year ago | (#42303407)

If you follow the link and go three pictures forward (avoiding the ads that appear in the bottom-right corner), then you can see a diagram of the Chang'e 2's flight path, including the part where it orbits the L2 Langrangian [wikipedia.org]. I think in an American publication they'd not want to include that diagram because they'd get too many letters asking 'what the ****' it was.

EU is not a country. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42304167)

this.

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