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China's Nuclear Rover Will Sample the Moon

timothy posted about a year and a half ago | from the space-cheese-is-worth-it dept.

China 134

HansonMB writes "After launching on one of the nation's Long March rockets and a three-day transit, Chang'E 3 will reach the Moon and enter into a 62 mile orbit. Once settled, the 2,645 pound lander will separate from the roughly 8,200 pound spacecraft and descend into a highly elliptical orbit 62 by 9.5 miles above the surface." Russia wants a taste, too, and plans a moon-sampling mission set for 2015.

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134 comments

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Online Income (-1, Flamebait)

dijihoua (2818033) | about a year and a half ago | (#42620237)

http://www.cloud65.com/ [cloud65.com] what Bryan said I'm alarmed that a stay at home mom can get paid $5159 in 1 month on the computer. have you seen this site link

2017 (2)

Taco Cowboy (5327) | about a year and a half ago | (#42622061)

Info I gather from this link: http://www.cas.cn/zt/hyzt/16thysdh/zb/ [www.cas.cn]

and from this slide: http://www.flickr.com/photos/planetaryblog/8343205291/in/photostream [flickr.com]

Rough translation:

"From 2017 onward, after the completion of China's unmanned lunar missions, China will embark on manned missions to the moon and also to build a permanent lunar base"

Re:2017 (1)

jamstar7 (694492) | about a year and a half ago | (#42622875)

I read TFA, and there's suspiciously no launch date, and the mission talked about is an orbiter with a perigee of 6.5 miles. I'm guessing the Chinese are implying they'll drop the rover at perigee for its 90 day sampling mission.

Or this could be just vapor, the Chinese goverment wanting some good press for a change...

Re:2017 (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42623185)

I read your post and there's suspiciously no details of your anal sex hemorrhoids.
You seriously expect details from some pop culture site about some event that even the specialist sites have yet to bother with?

Or this could be just vapor, the Chinese goverment wanting some good press for a change...

Have you been gay prostituting out of your mom's basement or are you just delusional?
2000km High Speed Rail link, rendezvous with Toutatis, not one but two stealth fighters...just a sampling of what happened within the last year were obviously all vapor.

Days of humans in space coming to an end? (2)

cod3r_ (2031620) | about a year and a half ago | (#42620239)

Why send humans when you can just send robots.

Re:Days of humans in space coming to an end? (5, Funny)

Tablizer (95088) | about a year and a half ago | (#42620371)

They tend not to open the pod bay door when you need it most

Re:Days of humans in space coming to an end? (3, Interesting)

K. S. Kyosuke (729550) | about a year and a half ago | (#42620627)

If you weren't there you wouldn't need to open the pod bay door in the first place!

Re:Days of humans in space coming to an end? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42622205)

That's the joke.

Re:Days of humans in space coming to an end? (2)

timeOday (582209) | about a year and a half ago | (#42620613)

I'm increasingly having trouble remembering why it seemed like a space mission would be so much cooler with a person onboard. Would the Hubble be so much better with a guy in it? Would the Curiosity Mars rover? Just because "somebody" gets to have an experience doesn't mean I do, and offhand I can't think of any moon science that was done by people and could not now be done by a robot. Even hitting golf balls.

Re:Days of humans in space coming to an end? (1)

K. S. Kyosuke (729550) | about a year and a half ago | (#42620649)

I'm increasingly having trouble remembering why it seemed like a space mission would be so much cooler with a person onboard.

Because everyone was overly optimistic about the non-influence of stellar and galactic radiation on the human body and about the way how living in cramped conditions with the same group of people for two years risking death every day tends to keep your psyche shipshape.

solution (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42620917)

me and 2 playboy ladies and ill go anywhere regardless of the tan i get

Re:solution (1)

Taco Cowboy (5327) | about a year and a half ago | (#42622269)

You are not that desperate, are you??

Re:Days of humans in space coming to an end? (1)

SourceFrog (627014) | about a year and a half ago | (#42621101)

living in cramped conditions with the same group of people for two years risking death every day

Living in cramped conditions with the same group of people for lengthy periods of time risking death, that also roughly describes Columbus's early voyages. The full duration of the first voyage was seven months. Not that far off from estimates for a Mars voyage.

Re:Days of humans in space coming to an end? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42621303)

You really think it's the same? A boat with access to fresh air, sunlight, water? Now go in a closet, close the door, and pretend that one sheet metal thickness away is a deadly, empty radiation-blasted vacuum that will kill you fast or slow. And now don't leave that closet for two years as you hurtle away from everything ever, to go nowhere fast that we already KNOW is a cold, dead rock.

How is this in any way similar to Columbus, who went with three ships, hoping to find a country at destination, that you know has all the conditions for life, for free?

You space nutters REALLY need to think things through before you post. You sound more and more delusional each time.

Re:Days of humans in space coming to an end? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42622435)

Simply calling someone a "nut" isn't just completely not an argument at all, it's also retarded. You haven't made any argument whatsoever. A Mars trip can be done with today's technology already, so exactly which part is "delusional". It's "delusional" to think it's not possible. And "You really think it's the same?" is a strawman, GP poster made it clear there are strong parallels, and they should be obvious to anyone who isn't completely retarded.

Re:Days of humans in space coming to an end? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42622491)

And yet your entire argument rests on insults. Noted. My argument is that comparing non-existent technology and fantasies about space that come from Star Trek are meaningless. When Columbus made his voyage with three ships, how many ships were already traveling the Earth's ocean? How many spaceships are these these days? Argument one.

Columbus was able to make his trip with thousand year old technology that was built in the 15th century. How much technology and resources are required to go to space? Argument two.

Columbus actually went exploring since from his point of view, he didn't know where he was going. We KNOW that Mars and the Moon are dead. Argument three.

Traveling on the sea, as noted, supplies you with the essential basics of survival, including gravity. In space, you have none of these and zero-G and free fall are detrimental to human health. Argument four.

Columbus arrived on the same planet, in the same environment, and had natives he could kill and steal from. This is fucking obvious as he was still on Earth. You idiots want to go to dead rocks. Argument five.

Free fuel (wind). Argument six.

SPACE IS FUCKING HUGE. Argument seven.

IT'S ALSO FUCKING EMPTY. Argument eight.

The exact same chemical elements that we already have here are out there. Except that here, we can bring the entire planet's infrastructure to bear on any project we choose. In space on your holy dead rocks, you have to reinvent the shovel. To get the same stuff we already have here. Argument nine.

Grow the fuck up. All the delusional sci-fi and Cold War space age propaganda have done a number on you. You can't see clearly.

Re:Days of humans in space coming to an end? (3, Insightful)

cusco (717999) | about a year and a half ago | (#42623665)

Coward.

Re:Days of humans in space coming to an end? (1)

K. S. Kyosuke (729550) | about a year and a half ago | (#42621317)

Living in cramped conditions with the same group of people for lengthy periods of time risking death, that also roughly describes Columbus's early voyages. The full duration of the first voyage was seven months. Not that far off from estimates for a Mars voyage.

Personally, I'd go with Magellan for this analogy. With desert islands. With no natives to help you.

Re:Days of humans in space coming to an end? (1)

cusco (717999) | about a year and a half ago | (#42623623)

The voyages of Columbus and Magellan cost their countries a larger proportion of their GNP than the entire Apollo program cost the US.

Re:Days of humans in space coming to an end? (1)

Antipater (2053064) | about a year and a half ago | (#42620759)

When you have a person there, you don't spend days looking at a photo, trying to determine if something is a pebble or a "flower".

Re:Days of humans in space coming to an end? (1)

murdocj (543661) | about a year and a half ago | (#42621789)

You do understand that the "flower" is about a tenth of an inch wide, right? So if someone was on Mars the only way they would be finding it would be to take hi-res pictures of rocks and look at them. Pretty much the same thing Curiosity is doing.

Re:Days of humans in space coming to an end? (1)

tsotha (720379) | about a year and a half ago | (#42623089)

Not only that, they'd be wearing a pressure suit. It would feel like remote control even if it wasn't.

Re:Days of humans in space coming to an end? (2)

AK Marc (707885) | about a year and a half ago | (#42620841)

If Apollo 13 didn't have people on board to fix the issue after the O2 tank failure, they would never have made it home. Of course, if they didn't send people, they wouldn't have needed the O2, or needed to return. So there is that.

Re:Days of humans in space coming to an end? (2)

K. S. Kyosuke (729550) | about a year and a half ago | (#42621001)

If Apollo 13 didn't have people on board to fix the issue after the O2 tank failure, they would never have made it home. Of course, if they didn't send people, they wouldn't have needed the O2, or needed to return. So there is that.

Also, they didn't actually fix anything since if they had *fixed* the problem, they would have been able to complete the mission. They would have needed a much larger toolbox to do any useful repair and they'd still miss the O2 after the repair.

Re:Days of humans in space coming to an end? (1)

AK Marc (707885) | about a year and a half ago | (#42622477)

They "fixed" the problems caused by the rupture, but didn't fix the problem in a manner to have sufficient resources to complete the mission.

Re:Days of humans in space coming to an end? (2)

SourceFrog (627014) | about a year and a half ago | (#42621031)

I'm increasingly having trouble remembering why it seemed like a space mission would be so much cooler with a person onboard

I would think this should be more obvious, but it's "cooler" for the people onboard. Do you think it would have been a whole lot cooler if the Spanish had just sent robots to the New World?

Humans are going to colonize space, and it's not for your personal entertainment, but because people with a spirit of exploration want to see what's out there and want to set foot on and colonize new worlds. The early settlers didn't migrate to the New World for the purposes of entertaining those back home. Public Space Programs may be entertaining, but they're not primarily entertainment programs (likewise for projects like Elon Musk's).

Of course, projects like Hubble wouldn't be any better with 'a guy in it'. But is there advantage to acquiring the know-how to have humans in space? Absolutely. If you can't see why it's "cool" to get humans to Mars, then rather just go back to playing video games or whatever entertains you, because there's not much else in this universe that is going to fire your imagination.

That humans are going to colonize space is by now a matter of 'when and how', not 'if'. I think it's time we got our butts over to Mars, and it's time we thought about how to get our butts over to the nearest stars and look for habitable new worlds to colonize. Time's wasting, and I want to retire someday (if we cure aging then this may be reasonable even at well below light speeds) on one of the planets around Tau Ceti [sciencedaily.com] , or something similar.

Re:Days of humans in space coming to an end? (2)

timeOday (582209) | about a year and a half ago | (#42621263)

I think the mileage that government space programs have gotten out of entertainment value for the home audience is huge, regardless of its purported minimal role. In fact I think that, plus technology from or for (unmanned) defense applications, just about covers it.

I wish the analogy between crossing the Atlantic Ocean vs. traveling 12 light years to Tau Ceti were better than it is. I really don't think the technologies currently in use for space travel are even steps in the right direction towards traveling interstellar distances. Teleportation does not seem impossible (reconstructing ourselves at the destination), but if we can do that, then we can probably also just live inside a computer and actuate through some sort of distributed robot body if/when necessary. I realize this is starting to sound silly. Well, my point is that transporting our bodies tens of light years is even less feasible than that.

Re:Days of humans in space coming to an end? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42621645)

Colonize space? Why? 3/4 of our planet is ocean, how about colonize that first? Deserts? Hint: it will be much cheaper and possible with today's technology without major sacrifices. So... where are the underwater cities, etc? No takers?

Because governments are too close? (4, Insightful)

tlambert (566799) | about a year and a half ago | (#42622139)

Colonize space? Why? 3/4 of our planet is ocean, how about colonize that first? Deserts? Hint: it will be much cheaper and possible with today's technology without major sacrifices. So... where are the underwater cities, etc? No takers?

Because governments are too close?

For example, when the Republic of Minerva attempted to create an independent micronation by colonizing an area of the ocean, the US paid Tonga to claim it for the Kingdom of Tonga so the millionaires who were trying to found it couldn't get out from under existing national sovereignties.

For a lot of people willing to fly away to the far reaches of space, the limiting factor has always been the cost of getting out of the gravity well in the first place. The DC-X (Delta Clipper) would have remedied this, but it was killed off McDonnell Douglas as part of them being eaten by Boeing, in favor of the National Aerospace plane, which never materialized, and would have needed runways and to boost additional equipment to do landings out there, where there are no runways for the plane to use (an intentional limitation of the plane).

I can understand governments being wary of cheap access to space (e.g. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kinetic_bombardment#Project_Thor [wikipedia.org] should probably not be put in practical reach of well to do Facebook emloyees, and more than you'd want them to have tactical nuclear weapons at their disposal).

That it would cost a whole hell of a lot for a cat's paw to fly up and try to claim the territory out from under them is a major advantage of basing something like this in space, and therefore a major draw to colonization efforts there.

There are also people even crazier than that who believe that it's mankind's Manifest Detiny to expand to fill the solar system, and from there the nearby stars, then on to the galaxy, and then on to the rest of the universe: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Manifest_destiny [wikipedia.org] .

Either way, it means either getting rid of the small minds in the way, or working around them. Local end runs, like Minerva, have failed, and if you are just going to be an extension of an existing nation, and are in the top 1% of wealth there anyway, you can be a hell of a lot more comfortable under their thumb without going anywhere than you can be doing subsistence fish-farming on a floating city in the middle of the Pacific being a damn sight less comfortablr, and then finding yourself *still* under their thumb anyway.

Colonies are built by political refugees, economic refugees, indentured servants, disinherited heirs, bastard progeny, and, in general, people looking for a better life than the one they have now. For everyone in the middle class and higher, that's basically unavailable here on Earth, "better" being a relative term, and with orbital costs being artificially inflated, anyone below that level of wealth can't hope to go anywhere, except local regional border crossings, in the hope of a better life.

So you get a bunch of nerds, in the middle class and higher, where do you think they will be pointing their colony ships, Antarctica? It might work, but you are more likely to get booted off by whoever "protects" that section of Antarctica from someone doing that under the Antarctic Treaty http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Antarctic_Treaty [wikipedia.org] which was designed to prevent something like that ever happening.

The closest you're going to get on-planet is taking over an existing state, and Charles Taylor pretty much nailed the door shut on that in 1960: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Charles_Taylor_(Liberia) [wikipedia.org]

Re:Days of humans in space coming to an end? (1)

tsotha (720379) | about a year and a half ago | (#42623209)

Humans are going to colonize space, and it's not for your personal entertainment, but because people with a spirit of exploration want to see what's out there and want to set foot on and colonize new worlds.

Great. They can do it with their own money then.

The early settlers didn't migrate to the New World for the purposes of entertaining those back home.

No, for the most part they went there to get rich. The lumber alone on a plot of almost-free land was worth a fortune in the old world. But there's nothing like that on Mars. There's literally no reason to go. It's a big dust ball completely incompatible with human life. It would make more sense to colonize Antarctica or the bottom of the oceans. It would make more sense to dig a bunker far underground.

That humans are going to colonize space is by now a matter of 'when and how', not 'if'.

There's no reason to believe this. The solar system sans Earth is very inhospitable to human life for people who are just visiting let alone colonists.

Re:Days of humans in space coming to an end? (2)

SourceFrog (627014) | about a year and a half ago | (#42621045)

Just because "somebody" gets to have an experience doesn't mean I do

If you want to experience this, why not apply as a volunteer for the Mars One project [mars-one.com] ?

Re:Days of humans in space coming to an end? (1)

timeOday (582209) | about a year and a half ago | (#42622601)

It's not about whether it's me vs. one some other guy. My point is that if we spend several billion dollars to send somebody to Mars, 99.9999% of the population will still be sitting on earth, looking at pictures of Mars exactly like the ones they're already looking at (or not bothering to look at). I just don't see what it would change.

Re:Days of humans in space coming to an end? (2)

cusco (717999) | about a year and a half ago | (#42623651)

The astronauts on the last Apollo mission covered more territory with the Lunar Rover than all the Mars rovers combined have covered in all the years that they've been there. An astronaut can dig more than four inches into the soil. An astronaut can climb on top of a rock that a rover can't even approach. An astronaut can improvise an experiment from scraps and cleaning fluids. An astronaut can look down and recognize an unusual rock that a rover would not see from its ground-level camera. I can go on for quite a long time, but will stop there.

Re:Days of humans in space coming to an end? (3, Insightful)

c0lo (1497653) | about a year and a half ago | (#42620713)

Nah... US will return to the moon in 2015. Just after NASA builds a vehicle to replace the retired space shuttles, in 2014; it will be called "Crew Exploration Vehicle". And, once on the Moon, the Americans will start building a permanent base there, as an avant-post for manned missions to Mars.

Nice re-reading science-fiction classics, especially George W. Bush [slashdot.org] .

On the other hand, I can't deplore enough the change in the mind-set. From

We choose to go to the moon in this decade and do the other things, not because they are easy, but because they are hard, because that goal will serve to organize and measure the best of our energies and skills, etc

to why send humans when you can just send robots... in only 50 years.

Re:Days of humans in space coming to an end? (2)

myowntrueself (607117) | about a year and a half ago | (#42621625)

Nah... US will return to the moon in 2015. Just after NASA builds a vehicle to replace the retired space shuttles, in 2014;

The shuttles were never going to be any help in going to the moon. Far too heavy to do anything more than low earth orbit. Thats why the ISS is in such a low orbit and has problems with atmospheric drag; because the Americans couldn't build a reusable vehicle that didn't have wings and a tail plane. Because the military insisted that it could land in the USA in case it was carrying a classified payload. So the shuttle was a cripple. And a deathtrap.

Re:Days of humans in space coming to an end? (3, Insightful)

khallow (566160) | about a year and a half ago | (#42621089)

Why send humans when you can just send robots.

Why send robots when you just not send anything at all? At some point, you are assuming that there's something valuable to do in space. Else just not doing anything is the correct choice.

As it turns out both robots and humans have their place in space activities. Robots are the obvious winners for virtually all extreme exploration, such as sending something out for the first time (the unmanned probes that were part of the Apollo program and used to scout possible sites and try out landing technology), to an environment that simply is not survivable (for example, a one way trip into the atmospheres of Jupiter or Venus), or lasts a ridiculous length of time (the Voyager missions).

Robots are also good for easily automated tasks such as imaging and communications. And as the software improves, one can expect more such tasks to be automated.

Humans are better for missions that have a lot of complexity and on site decision making. The Apollo program contains a good example of human activity that couldn't be readily duplicated by an affordable amount of robotics on Mars. Overall human time on the Moon was something like three or four weeks of human time (including the fact that there were two people on each of the half dozen missions that made it to the Moon).

For example, consider the scientific missions to Mars over the past forty years. Each of the last three lunar missions duplicated the basic feats of any of the rovers on Mars, but in a couple of days rather than a number of years. And a powerful component of the Apollo program was the sample return, which still generates considerable academic activity today.

People tend to forget that a manned mission could generate as much scientific knowledge in a few weeks as the unmanned landers and rovers have over the past last forty years. And that's a good use of humanity's real strength, the Earthside infrastructure that has had to make do with a remarkably thin gruel for four decades.

There's also the goal of eventual colonization of space. One has to use humans at some point in order to further that goal beyond a rudimentary level.

Coming to a beginning (1)

SourceFrog (627014) | about a year and a half ago | (#42621129)

Why send humans when you can just send robots

This just reveals a lack of imagination. Yes we've been delayed so far in getting to space, but robots are going to pave the way for an exponential explosion of humans in space. We'll soon be able to do things like send teams of robots in advance to do automated construction of infrastructure (eg. build housing, build automated greenhouses, build solar mini-stations, and this is just with technology that we'll see within the next 15 to 30 years), that will make it easier and cheaper to send large numbers of people to Mars. We're just warming up, the days of humans in space are about to begin.

Re:Days of humans in space coming to an end? (3, Insightful)

myowntrueself (607117) | about a year and a half ago | (#42621595)

Why send humans when you can just send robots.

Why go yourself when you can send someone else?
Why ride a horse when you can get someone else to ride a horse for you?
Why make love to a real pretty girl when you can get someone else to do it for you?
Why not just kill yourself now and get your lack of involvement in life over with?
We do things ourselves, go places ourselves, because that is part of what makes us human, we participate in life the universe and everything.

Re:Days of humans in space coming to an end? (1)

Nefarious Wheel (628136) | about a year and a half ago | (#42621775)

Robots will do the job as soon as one can look at something and say "Hey, that's odd..." and apply insight to determine what's worth a closer look, outside pre-programmed observational parameters.

Re:Days of humans in space coming to an end? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42622689)

we have a billion or two extra humans. We should throw a bunch of them at various extraterrestrial targets and see if they stick.

Re:Days of humans in space coming to an end? (2)

Runaway1956 (1322357) | about a year and a half ago | (#42622877)

Why fuck when you can just have a doctor impregnate your wife with a few tools?

Or, for her, why fuck when you can just donate an egg for a test tube baby?

Why attend classes if you can just send a robot to proxy for you?

Why go on vacation, when plenty of photographers are willing to sell you images and sounds of Cancun?

Why own a home, when you can just sleep in the subway, or under a bridge, and tape up some photos of nice homes instead?

Why do you bother to browse the internet, when you can get some of the internet's information second or third hand from people you meet?

Why do people climb mountains again? Why do people sail? If you seriously have to ask any of these questions, then you're a part of the population that we don't want on the moon anyway.

Rovers flavor (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42620247)

Chinese then sample the Rover on return.

aha (1, Interesting)

qwidjib0 (900833) | about a year and a half ago | (#42620287)

>>> After launching on one of the nation's Long March rockets and a three-day transit, Chang'E 3 will reach the Moon and enter into a 62 mile orbit. ...or it will make a fantastic explosion someplace in China. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pq9iYyBYJMI [youtube.com]

Only problem is after it takes a sample (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42620303)

It will have to take another one an hour later.

Re:Only problem is after it takes a sample (0, Troll)

Tablizer (95088) | about a year and a half ago | (#42620333)

"I sample you long time!"

Re:Only problem is after it takes a sample (3, Funny)

jamiesan (715069) | about a year and a half ago | (#42620393)

Damn you moongorians!

Re:Only problem is after it takes a sample (2)

Nefarious Wheel (628136) | about a year and a half ago | (#42621793)

I recommend "Radar Men from the Moon" with Commando Cody (Republic, some time in the 50's)

Re:Only problem is after it takes a sample (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42622619)

Hey, why does one stereotype/slur get a -1 and another a +5? Wuzzup with that?

Re:Only problem is after it takes a sample (2)

Bigby (659157) | about a year and a half ago | (#42620473)

The samples will also be exported to the US on the cheap

Re:Only problem is after it takes a sample (1)

uvajed_ekil (914487) | about a year and a half ago | (#42623077)

It will have to take another one an hour later.

You're showing your ignorance here, because that will only be the case if it takes heavily Americanized samples.

How does Slashdot work? (-1, Offtopic)

mynamestolen (2566945) | about a year and a half ago | (#42620311)

Sorry to butt in here but I thought I'd get in early in the posts. I've had a slashdot submission pending for a few days and am wondering if anyone has actually looked at it. Other websites tell you how many views something has had. http://slashdot.org/submission/2444955/best-webcam-for-vision-impaired-on-linux [slashdot.org]

Re:How does Slashdot work? (0)

wiggles (30088) | about a year and a half ago | (#42620349)

Slashdot is moderated. Your submissions are reviewed by the moderator and accepted or rejected. You can go into your profile, view your submissions, and see which ones were accepted or rejected.

Re:How does Slashdot work? (-1, Offtopic)

mynamestolen (2566945) | about a year and a half ago | (#42620463)

Thanks for that, I sorta gathered that was how it worked. I'm curious as to how long a submission can be "pending". Could you have a look at it? Can you "moderate" it? I think it's just the sort of thing I've seen on slashdot. http://slashdot.org/submission/2444955/best-webcam-for-vision-impaired-on-linux [slashdot.org]

Re:How does Slashdot work? (2)

JazzLad (935151) | about a year and a half ago | (#42620515)

Sorry, we can't run this story as it is not a duplicate of another story already run.

Re:How does Slashdot work? (0)

mynamestolen (2566945) | about a year and a half ago | (#42620677)

Re:How does Slashdot work? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42622569)

yeah, haha or whooosh :)

Re:How does Slashdot work? (1)

K. S. Kyosuke (729550) | about a year and a half ago | (#42620667)

You can go into your profile, view your submissions, and see which ones were accepted or rejected.

IF you can see them. I've posted a submission once and if I hadn't kept its URI, I would never have been able to return back to it, since the system pretended it had never existed.

WTF Hoola Hoop? (3, Insightful)

Tablizer (95088) | about a year and a half ago | (#42620313)

the 2,645 pound lander will separate from the roughly 8,200 pound spacecraft and descend into a highly elliptical orbit 62 by 9.5 miles above the surface

Why are they landing a "lander" on an elliptical orbit instead of the surface of the moon? Did this come from the Siri Translator?

Re:WTF Hoola Hoop? (2)

DroolTwist (1357725) | about a year and a half ago | (#42620441)

At the low point of the orbit, it will fire thrusters to slow it down and land.

Re:WTF Hoola Hoop? (1)

sconeu (64226) | about a year and a half ago | (#42620655)

How did the Lunokhod rovers land?

It sounds like the Chinese are planning on imitating the Apollo landing orbit profiles.

IIRC, the CSM stayed in a 62 mile circular orbit, while the LM went into a 62x10 orbit. If everything was go, they'd do the landing burn at the 10 mile mark, otherwise, they'd return up to the CSM. The landing missions did the burn, Apollo 10 returned up to the CSM from the orbit.

Sampling mission (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42620415)

So, they're planning to send a lander to Arizona to sample our desert?

Buy your own and try it for yourself! (1)

Nefarious Wheel (628136) | about a year and a half ago | (#42620469)

A year or so ago I was perusing the made-in-china web site and found a page where you could buy a Long March missile booster and launching platform (included payload nacelle but no payload, bring your own fuel). The part I found most disconcerting was the little "add to basket" icon...

Re:Buy your own and try it for yourself! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42620541)

A year or so ago I was perusing the made-in-china web site and found a page where you could buy a Long March missile booster and launching platform (included payload nacelle but no payload, bring your own fuel). The part I found most disconcerting was the little "add to basket" icon...

Hmmm... are you sure it wasn't actually a battery pack [aliexpress.com] ?

Re:Buy your own and try it for yourself! (3, Funny)

ddd0004 (1984672) | about a year and a half ago | (#42620611)

Poor UPS guy. Imagine trying to get that up to the porch

Great... (1)

Dahamma (304068) | about a year and a half ago | (#42620477)

Pretty soon they'll be setting up mines and factories, it will become as smoggy as Beijing, and everyone will have to wear masks to go outside.

How do RTGs work? (2)

TubeSteak (669689) | about a year and a half ago | (#42620513)

The Chang'E 3 lander will rely on a plutonium-238 radioisotope thermoelectric generator, or RTG, for power. This is the same type of unit that's currently powering Curiosity's traverse across Mars. But unlike Curiosity, Chang'E 3 will only use its RTG to keep the spacecraft's systems humming during the two-week long lunar nights. Solar panels will allow the lander to take advantage of the free power during the two-week long lunar days.

I thought that once you put together an RTG, its lifespan was limited only by the radiation source and the degradation of the thermocouples.

So what's the purpose of not using the RTG all the time?
Will that extend its life?

Re:How do RTGs work? (1)

alexander_686 (957440) | about a year and a half ago | (#42620593)

I wonder if the energy per pound is higher for a solar panel then for the RTG? If so it might make sense to have a high energy phase (solar and RTG) and a low energy phase (only RTG.) That would be my guess – anybody have a better idea?

Re:How do RTGs work? (4, Informative)

nedlohs (1335013) | about a year and a half ago | (#42620629)

All I can guess is that it doesn't provide enough power, and they are either powering down some components during the night or charging batteries during the day?

But I'm guessing without even reading the summary.

Re:How do RTGs work? (1)

nospam007 (722110) | about a year and a half ago | (#42620809)

"All I can guess is that it doesn't provide enough power, and they are either powering down some components during the night or charging batteries during the day?"

You are aware that a moon 'day' lasts 14 earth days? You couldn't get any work done.

PS. You can't land on the sun, not even at night.

Re:How do RTGs work? (1)

Soralin (2437154) | about a year and a half ago | (#42621267)

It looks like that's what they're doing though in some capacity, basically running most of it during the day on solar power, and then just using a small RTG to keep it warm enough that it doesn't freeze to death during the night, and possibly keep communications and stuff like that running.

Just because it's a machine doesn't necessarily mean that all of its components can survive -170C temperatures.

And even Curiosity doesn't do work at night, it uses a smaller RTG than needed to power all it's components, and charges up batteries at night for operations during the day. Pu-238 is a bit hard to come by (and expensive) in large quantities, so you do what you can to limit the size of an RTG.

Re:How do RTGs work? (1)

nedlohs (1335013) | about a year and a half ago | (#42623011)

Obviously since it was in the quote I replied to. Length of the night only makes it more likely they are doing what I said - powering down for the night due to not having enough juice. Not that I've read the summary yet of course.

Re:How do RTGs work? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42620639)

RTGs don't give off much power; if it's only powerful enough to keep the other systems warm, it'd be a lot cheaper than if it had to power all operations of the lander. Plus, solar power is basically free and guaranteed on the moon anyway. Why not use it?

Re:How do RTGs work? (1)

Nefarious Wheel (628136) | about a year and a half ago | (#42620689)

They don't always use thermocouples. Sometimes the energy capture is via Stirling generator: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stirling_radioisotope_generator [wikipedia.org]

Re:How do RTGs work? (1)

CanHasDIY (1672858) | about a year and a half ago | (#42620773)

They don't always use thermocouples. Sometimes the energy capture is via Stirling generator: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stirling_radioisotope_generator [wikipedia.org]

Thanks for the link, I'm going to bookmark if for the next time one of my engineer friends makes a wisecrack about Stirling engines being "useless little toys."

Re:How do RTGs work? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42620691)

You are correct -- RTGs do not turn "on and off," but emit a constant stream of power as a function of their decay rate. The only thing I can figure is that they have more experiments to do on the dayside than on the night, and since solar power is cheap compared to Pu-238, they run both during the day. Or, the RTG is also used as a heater (Pu pellets are hot) and used to maintain lander temperatures during the night. There is some tradeoff between thermal stability and available power.

Either way, I'm glad to see somebody is still producing plutonium. Bob knows the US hasn't in twenty years or so, and we can't go past Jupiter's orbit without it.

Re:How do RTGs work? (1)

Grishnakh (216268) | about a year and a half ago | (#42620935)

we can't go past Jupiter's orbit without it.

In the movie "Silent Running", they had ships with forests orbiting Saturn, and apparently getting sufficient sunlight there. Are you going to tell me that Hollywood didn't know what they were doing?

Re:How do RTGs work? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42621063)

There was NOT sufficient sunlight. That was part of the plot.

Re:How do RTGs work? (1)

Grishnakh (216268) | about a year and a half ago | (#42621109)

Huh? Ok, it's been a few years since I've seen that movie, but I don't remember insufficient sunlight being a problem there; otherwise, why would they put the things way out in Saturn orbit anyway? (I always wondered why they thought that was a good idea, or if it was just so they could reuse the video sequence of going through Saturn's rings that they had shot for 2001 but never used.) I thought the whole problem was that the leaders on Earth didn't want to spend any more money maintaining these forest-ships as they didn't see a need for them, so they decided to shut them all down (and for some odd reason, they couldn't just leave them derelict, they had to blow them up with h-bombs for good measure, which for some weird reason they were carrying with them just for this purpose).

Re:How do RTGs work? (1)

camperdave (969942) | about a year and a half ago | (#42621699)

Saturn is the most "spacey" and "futurey" looking. If you wanted to show something is in space back in the late 1960s, early 1970s, you either put the Moon, or Saturn in the background.

Re:How do RTGs work? (1)

tragedy (27079) | about a year and a half ago | (#42622275)

The insufficient light problem was after he hijacked the ship and took it off its normal course/orientation. He set up additional lighting to compensate. It can be rationalized by concluding that most of the light the forests survived on was from artificial lighting with just a little supplemental light from the sun and that moving the ship dropped that supplemental light just below the required threshold. Or maybe movie makers just don't always fact-check very well.

As for blowing them up rather than just leaving them derelict, that could simply be a matter of applying traditional nautical practice to spacecraft. Scuttling abandoned vessels, barges, whatever seems to be accepted practice as opposed to letting them drift around. Otherwise, it could have been a political decision to quiet opposition. The main character couldn't have been the only one who objected to abandoning the last forests. If they blew the domes up, they wouldn't have to keep fielding pushes to retrieve them.

Re:How do RTGs work? (1)

Grishnakh (216268) | about a year and a half ago | (#42622391)

Scuttling abandoned vessels, barges, whatever seems to be accepted practice as opposed to letting them drift around.

It is? I thought it was more normal to keep these things, and recycle them for scrap metal. There's a LOT of steel in a ship or barge. The exception seems to be military vessels, where standard practice seems to be to either put them in a ship graveyard ("mothballs"), like the one in the San Francisco bay, sell them to someone else, or for something where perhaps they don't want any secrets getting out (like old aircraft carriers), they'll use them as target practice and turn them into artificial reefs.

And scuttling a spaceship with a nuclear bomb doesn't seem like a very good idea to me anyway: instead of having one derelict vessel floating around, now you've got a big debris field floating around that could be a navigational hazard, and not nearly as easy to see and avoid as a single vessel. Crashing a vessel into a nearby planet or moon would make more sense, though with the vastness of space (except in certain orbital regions, where "space junk" really is a big problem), the whole idea really seems pretty silly.

Re:How do RTGs work? (1)

tragedy (27079) | about a year and a half ago | (#42622629)

It is? I thought it was more normal to keep these things, and recycle them for scrap metal.

Sorry, should have been more clear. I meant in cases of abandonment. Because of a storm that makes it impractical to continue towing a barge or because the vessel doing the towing has been recalled for other duties. Also when a disaster such as a fire forces a vessel to be abandoned. True, that sort of thing is probably a lot less common these days when it's a lot easier to track and locate an abandoned vessel.

Agreed on the scuttling with a nuclear bomb. It doesn't make a lot of practical sense. Viewed as a political move or publicity stunt, it makes a lot more sense (principally because those don't have to make sense). If you think of it as an anti-environmentalist version of the cultural revolution, cutting ties with mankind's past, paving the way for a glorious future, then it makes more sense. The "problem" is taken care of permanently and immediately with no looking back.

Re:How do RTGs work? (2)

istartedi (132515) | about a year and a half ago | (#42621951)

Lots of variables: mission profile, the mass of the RTG system, the mass of the panels, power requirements. What's most important? Keeping the weight down? Maybe something else. Let's say it's the weight though. Part of me imagines them setting up an equation involving the aforementioned variables and coming up with a solution that minimizes the weight.

If you go solar only, you would need bigger panels and batteries to run the dark side of the mission. If you go RTG only, you'd need a bigger RTG. Now it gets even more complicated because not only is it heavy, the fuel is probably expensive. Also, there could be political concerns about launching too much Pu. Yeah, China will do sketchy things; but I bet they don't want to annoy people needlessly or spend lavishly launching too much Pu.

Re:How do RTGs work? (1)

uvajed_ekil (914487) | about a year and a half ago | (#42623093)

They're using a very small RTG that doesn't put out a lot of juice, so it is more suited to being a backup than a main power source.

RTG, not Fission. (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42620559)

"The Chang'E 3 lander will rely on a plutonium-238 radioisotope thermoelectric generator, or RTG, for power."
Taken from the 5th paragraph of the article.

This is NOT powered by a full blown nuclear reactor. Would it really hurt to make this clear in the post?

Re:RTG, not Fission. (2)

newcastlejon (1483695) | about a year and a half ago | (#42621023)

RTG, not fission.

õ_Õ

This is NOT powered by a full blown nuclear reactor...

Correct. This is most likely why the article didn't claim that it is.

China's Rover Will Fail (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42620587)

Patrick McGoohan will eventually escape.

Yawn......... (1)

who_stole_my_kidneys (1956012) | about a year and a half ago | (#42620657)

wake me when there is a moon base, or something that hasn't been done already.

The top is in (1)

Roachie (2180772) | about a year and a half ago | (#42620731)

This is the kind sausage measuring contest that societies do at their peak.

Like the US, they will spend trill/bill/millions to take pictures of rocks in a vacuum then spend decades reminiscing about the good old days when they were launching rockets to the moon and beyond.

Re:The top is in (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42620845)

Whats the other option? Reminiscing about firing rockets at each other?

Russions (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42620807)

Russions put "rovers" on the moon in the 60s and 70s. No one noticed cus we put men on the moon just before that.

Re:Russions (1)

amicusNYCL (1538833) | about a year and a half ago | (#42621197)

What the hell is a "Russion"?

Re:Russions (1)

Nefarious Wheel (628136) | about a year and a half ago | (#42621829)

It's one ion of "Red Matter" (ref:ST)

Re:Russions (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42622647)

I hang around Yahoo comments so much my speling went to hel

Cheese is good - reports china (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42620831)

Cheese is good - reports china

I need closure on this anecdote! (1)

wonkey_monkey (2592601) | about a year and a half ago | (#42620999)

Once settled, the 2,645 pound lander will...descend into a highly elliptical orbit 62 by 9.5 miles above the surface.

I assume it does something after that...

And are the Chinese going to be using miles and pounds while they mission-control this?

Re:I need closure on this anecdote! (1)

wonkey_monkey (2592601) | about a year and a half ago | (#42621007)

Whoops. Meant to add, if you're going to copy-and-paste to create your summary, at least include something about the event teased in the headline - i.e., the sampling rover.

Rare-Earth? (1)

Anachragnome (1008495) | about a year and a half ago | (#42621097)

Let the Rare-Moon metals land-rush begin....

Helium-3 (1)

approachingZero (1365381) | about a year and a half ago | (#42623125)

This may be why the communists are making the trip - 'Between 1969 and 1972, Apollo astronauts brought just under 842 pounds of rocks and regolith back from the Moon. In 1985, engineers at the University of Wisconsin discovered significant amounts of Helium-3 in the lunar soil. Helium-3 is a stable isotope of helium — the gas we use to fill party balloons with — and is notable because it’s missing a neutron, an important property that means we can used it in nuclear fusion reactions to produce clean energy. Unfortunately, our most plentiful stores of the isotope are a quarter of a million miles away.' http://news.discovery.com/space/space-energy-mining-the-moon-120907.htm [discovery.com]

Hmm Galactucus is Chinese (1)

screamingturnip (2646261) | about a year and a half ago | (#42623563)

Read the article, recognize it as important but... Yeah, first thing I thought of when the headline said sample was eat. Leading me to think of some Chinese mad scientist that's send out sattelites across the solar system to eat the very Heavens. The he will be The True Celestial! BWAHAHAHA
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