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Chinese Chang'e-3 Lunar Rover On Its Way After Successful Launch

samzenpus posted about 8 months ago | from the we-have-lift-off dept.

Space 101

savuporo writes "The Chang'e-3 lunar probe, which includes the Yutu or Jade Rabbit buggy, blasted off on board an enhanced Long March-3B carrier rocket from the Xichang Satellite Launch Center at 1:30 a.m. (12.30 p.m. EDT). Landing is expected on December 14, at a landing site called Sinus Iridium (the Bay of Rainbows), a relic of a huge crater 258 km in diameter. Coverage of the launch was carried live on CCTV, with youtube copies available."

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101 comments

Poo on the Chinese (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#45569977)

I hope it go crashes after going a km up. Fuck their tiny 1cm peni.

Re:Poo on the Chinese (-1, Flamebait)

kdawson (3715) (1344097) | about 8 months ago | (#45569995)

Please be considerite.

And a word of advice, Chinese penises are about 6cm on average, NOT 1cm.

-KD

Re:Poo on the Chinese (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#45580715)

Well, 1cm or 6cm indicates size isn't important: they are about 20% of world population (1,300,000,000 people just IN China)!

Re:Poo on the Chinese (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#45592729)

But the men are only 10%.

Re:Poo on the Chinese (0)

amightywind (691887) | about 8 months ago | (#45570013)

I second that sentiment!

Re:Poo on the Chinese (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#45570207)

The more you count on the failings of others, the less you count on your own successes.

Re:Poo on the Chinese (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#45570905)

How wise... almost too wise ... did that come from a fortune cookie? How do we know we can trust it?

Re:Poo on the Chinese (1, Insightful)

Foxhoundz (2015516) | about 8 months ago | (#45570247)

I hope it go crashes after going a km up. Fuck their tiny 1cm peni.

I was gone from Slashdot for almost a year and this is what I'm greeted to. It's a shame things are continuing their downward spiral.

Re:Poo on the Chinese (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#45570487)

It's a frosty piss, what has ever been different?

Re:Poo on the Chinese (2, Funny)

Mister Liberty (769145) | about 8 months ago | (#45570527)

Let's hope this was sufficient to keep you out at least another year.

Re:Poo on the Chinese (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#45570603)

And let's just hope you stay the fuck out.

Re:Poo on the Chinese (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#45570665)

I was gone from Slashdot for almost a year and this is what I'm greeted to. It's a shame things are continuing their downward spiral.

I'm sure you weren't greeted by that particular comment. According to your posting history, you made your latest comment a couple of months ago.

Asia is playing catch up (5, Insightful)

Taco Cowboy (5327) | about 8 months ago | (#45569981)

While it is true that Asian countries (especially China and India) are playing catch up in the space race, they are catching up pretty quickly.

It is very very true that what India and China are doing the West (and Russia) had done some decades ago.

It is also true that what China is doing (and what India is doing also) is nothing new in the Western standard, one shouldn't stay put just because one's opponents are just beginning to do the "old stuff", or else, one day, the opponent may just have passed you by.

To India and China, congratulation of what you guys are doing !

To the West, please wake the fuck up !

Re:Asia is playing catch up (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#45570019)

They needs them monies to fight turrerists n communisms none of this stupid science garbage.

Re:Asia is playing catch up (1, Insightful)

ganjadude (952775) | about 8 months ago | (#45570049)

fight terrorists, fund BS health care legislation, either or. forget space m i right?

Re:Asia is playing catch up (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#45572717)

No

Re:Asia is playing catch up (4, Insightful)

Shakrai (717556) | about 8 months ago | (#45570103)

To the West, please wake the fuck up

That won't happen until the Chinese do something we haven't done before, preferably something with implications for national-defense. When that happens there will be a massive panic, followed by determined efforts to rectify the situation. What you're looking for is another Sputnik, and it will be a few decades before the Chinese are there.

For some reason this quote comes to mind: "Americans will always do the right thing, after they've exhausted all other possibilities."

Re:Asia is playing catch up (5, Informative)

savuporo (658486) | about 8 months ago | (#45570211)

That won't happen until the Chinese do something we haven't done before,

"West" has never sent a teleoperated rover to the moon. Russians did, 40 years ago.

Re:Asia is playing catch up (3, Insightful)

beltsbear (2489652) | about 8 months ago | (#45570337)

It is much more challenging to do tele-operated rovers on Mars and manned missions to the moon. The west has done both. Nobody else has. I do think the Chinese could beat the US back to the moon, and I hope they go full throttle towards the goal of a manned base on the moon. We need a space race to get us off this rock.

There are plenty of firsts and (in my opinion) more interesting places to go in the solar system, like Europa and other potentially life and or liquid water containing moons. It would be great to see China or India attempt missions on that level.

Re:Asia is playing catch up (4, Interesting)

savuporo (658486) | about 8 months ago | (#45570459)

It is much more challenging to do tele-operated rovers on Mars

Nobody disputed that. A rover on the moon however is a different thing than a rover on the Mars. First, its on an entirely different celestial body - hey, there are scientific discoveries there, and potential for development. Second, teleoperated rover on the moon will have substantially different capabilities compared to martian ones - instead of 10 minute signal lag, you have 1-2 seconds, and can actually do things interactively.

A rover on mars and a rover on moon are different things and one is not "more or less" than another. US, or "west", have done one, but not the other.

And before you jump back with "but we had men there" - again, men on the moon are a different capability than having a long lasting rover there. Chang'e-3 mission is designed for 3 months, and it will carry out continuous observations with its instruments. Thats a tall order for any human crew for a long time to come.

Re:Asia is playing catch up (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#45571569)

Nasa to grow plants on the moon by 2015: 'If they can thrive, we probably can too'

JAMES VINCENT Author Biography Friday 29 November 2013

Nasa has announced plans to grow plants on the moon by 2015 in a project designed to further humanity’s chances of successfully colonising space.

If successful, the Lunar Plant Growth Habitat team will make history by seeding life from Earth on another celestial body for the first time, paving the way for humans to set up more permanent habitation. “If we send plants and they thrive, then we probably can,” says Nasa.

Scientists, contractors and students will work together to create a small 1kg “self-contained habitat” containing seeds and germination material to send to the moon. To get there Nasa plans to ‘hitchhike’, delivering the payload via the Moon Express lander, a commercial spacecraft enrolled in the Google Lunar X Prize.

“After landing in late 2015, water will be added to the seeds in the module and their growth will be monitored for 5-10 days and compared to Earth based controls. Seeds will include Arabidopsis, basil, and turnips,” said Nasa officials in a press release.

The difficulty for the scientists will be encouraging plant growth in the harsh environment of the moon. Partial gravity and lunar radiation will need to be accounted for, although the plants will travel with their own water reservoir and enough air for five days of growth. Cameras and sensors will monitor the plants and send data back to Earth.

Nasa has outlined the importance of completing such experiments, noting that “thriving plants are needed for life support (food, air, water) for colonists,” and that such greenery also provides “psychological comfort, as the popularity of the greenhouses in Antarctica and on the Space Station show.”

Getting the seeds to the moon will be accomplished via the help of the Moon Express lander, a spacecraft being built by the private company Moon Express to compete in the Google Lunar X Prize. The $20 million prize will be awarded to the first team to “land a robot on the surface of the Moon, travel 500 meters over the lunar surface, and send images and data back to the Earth,” with a deadline of 31 December 2015.

The experiment will help Nasa not only to learn more about how plants grow in testing environmental conditions, but will address broader questions about the possibility of establishing human habitats elsewhere in the universe.

“Can humans live and work on the moon? Not just visit for a few days but stay for decades? A first step in long term presence is to send plants,” says Nasa. “They carry genetic material that can be damaged by radiation as can that of humans [and] can test the lunar environment for us, acting as a ‘canary in a coal mine’.”

The project is also noteworthy for its relative frugality. Speaking to Forbes's Tarun Wadhwa, planetary scientist Dr. Chris McKay estimated that such a project would have cost $300 million two decades ago, but will only set Nasa back $2 million today.

In a move that Wadhwa described as "a brilliant mix of creativity and frugality," Nasa will also be sending duplicate habitats to schools across America, so that children and students can grow and monitor the same plants being sent to the moon.

This part of the project kills two birds with one stone: it allows Nasa to crowdsource the control experiments necessary for any scientific investigation, whilst also involving and inspiring a new generation with dreams of planetary exploration.

http://www.independent.co.uk/life-style/gadgets-and-tech/nasa-to-grow-plants-on-the-moon-by-2015-if-they-can-thrive-we-probably-can-too-8972642.html [independent.co.uk]

NASA Talks Astronauts On Lunar Far Side By 2028

Despite depleted budgets, NASA and the broader lunar science community are both still talking manned lunar missions — potentially, in 2021 to the earth-moon L2 Lagrange point (60,000 kms above the far side surface) and a manned far side surface mission by 2028.

“The first flight test of the [new] Orion spacecraft is scheduled for September 2014,” said David Kring, planetary scientist at the NASA-funded Lunar and Planetary Institute (LPI) in Houston. “Orion is then scheduled to fly around the moon without crew in 2017 and then a crewed orbital lunar mission in 2021.”

Although currently, there’s no formal NASA funding for a specific crewed lunar mission, Kring says the U.S. agency has already planned space-based tests for the Orion spacecraft.

Kring says Orion spacecraft “parked” at the L2 position could simultaneously maintain communications with both the earth and lunar far side. But Kring says ultimately we would need rovers and astronauts on the far side.

“You can’t truly understand a place thoroughly without humans actually being there,” said Kring. “It’s as if we were trying to decipher earth from a weather satellite.”

Kring says such long manned absences from the lunar surface have been a hindrance to all of planetary science. It’s been more than 40 years since Apollo 17 departed the lunar near side’s Taurus-Littrow valley.

“This absence from the lunar surface has undermined progress in lunar geology and in all of planetary science,” said Kring.

NASA’s heavy-lifting Space Launch System (SLS) and a Lockheed Martin-built Orion Multi-purpose Crew Vehicle spacecraft could change all that by using the moon’s gravity to slingshot into an L2 parking orbit. Traveling some 15 percent farther than Apollo did from earth, such a crewed mission could spend at least two weeks in deep space.

“All four of Orion’s crew could go to the lunar surface,” said Kring, using newly-tested manned lunar rovers, each designed for a crew of two. The idea would be to either use two such rovers during the same mission, or alternate crew between one rover and the “parked” Orion spacecraft.

The number one science priority, says Kring, is to test the Lunar Cataclysm hypothesis — the idea that during a period of Late Heavy Bombardment in our young inner solar system, the earth and moon were severely bombarded by large impactors some 4 billion years ago. The next priority, he says, is to figure out just how old the 2500 km-diameter South Pole Aitken Basin truly is.

On the Western rim of the Aitken Basin, there’s a potentially science-rich basin within a basin. The 3.8 billion year old 320-km diameter Schrodinger Basin centered at 75 degrees south lunar latitude, lies within the much larger South Pole Aitken Basin.

Within Schrodinger’s 150 km-diameter inner ring, Kring says exposed large boulders, some 25 to 30 meters in size would make “wonderful targets” for sample return.

A lunar return mission would also test the Giant Impact lunar-formation hypothesis in which within 30 million years of earth’s formation, a Mars-sized planetary embryo slammed into nascent earth, sending molten debris into earth orbit; creating the moon in the process.

Theorists think that very soon after the moon’s tumultuous formation, it would have become orbitally-locked with earth, causing its far side to always be hidden from earth.

“We don’t have a large number of rock samples against which to test the [moon-forming] hypothesis,” said Kring. But he says rocks in the peak ring of Schrodinger would have isotopic compositions indicative of the material from which the moon accreted.

Kring says rocks from the Apollo missions are too young to carry the signatures of these early lunar events.

However, the South Pole lunar Aitken Basin is thought have been hit by an estimated civilization-ending, 170 km-sized impactor as early as 4.35 billion years ago. Schrodinger basin is thought to have been created by a 10 to 20 km-sized impactor some half a billion years later.

Five potential landing sites in the far side's Schrodinger Basin. Credit: David A. Kring Five potential landing sites in the far side’s Schrodinger Basin. Credit: David A. Kring

Kring says the same processes that were reshaping the moon some 4 billion years ago likely affected the origin and early evolution of life on earth.

At the time, our own planet would have been bombarded with impactors that may have created at least 20,000 craters each more than 20 kms in diameter. During the same period of Late Heavy Bombardment, earth may have seen some 40 impact basins, each of a 1000 kms or more, with some as large as 5000 kms in diameter.

“Every time we go to the moon,” said Kring, “we get a better understanding of our own earth.”

In addition to lunar science, exploration of Schrodinger crater — which has one of the biggest far side pyroclastic deposits — could determine whether the moon has recoverable volatile elements — everything from oxygen to hydrogen to zinc, that could be used in situ to make building materials, fuel, even water.

Although a crewed mission lunar lander still needs to be developed, as Kring notes: “We are ready to land on the moon with crew or robotic assets as soon as given an opportunity.” http://www.forbes.com/sites/brucedorminey/2013/11/30/nasa-talks-astronauts-on-lunar-far-side-by-2028/ [forbes.com]

Re:Asia is playing catch up (1)

Vitriol+Angst (458300) | about 8 months ago | (#45575171)

Not to say we shouldn't do better, but really? Comparing Mars rover to a Moon rover is like comparing a Giant apple to a little apple. There are no oranges in this comparison. There are more temperature swings on the moon, but Mars has storms. Other than that -- it's just further and more difficult.

And the Mars rover lasted longer than 3 months, and had to have software to cope with non real-time commands.

OK, again, seriously?

Re:Asia is playing catch up (1)

cream wobbly (1102689) | about 8 months ago | (#45575281)

It is much more challenging to do tele-operated rovers on Mars and manned missions to the moon. The west has done both.

Ah, but the timing is important. Tele-operated missions are arguably more advanced, taking the position that a manned landing mission is an admission of failure to design adequate remote control systems. So it can be argued the West caught up with the Old East and went further. Now the East is repeating the same advances. How soon before they go further?

Re:Asia is playing catch up (4, Interesting)

joe_frisch (1366229) | about 8 months ago | (#45570561)

That will be the critical point. If someone takes a serous shot at a manned mars mission for example, will the US space race revive, or will we just decide that we could but don't want to. For a while we've been letting the Russians launch our astronauts into space, something that would have been unthinkable when I was growing up.

Re:Asia is playing catch up (2)

clarkkent09 (1104833) | about 8 months ago | (#45570833)

If the Russians can do it safely and cheaply then why not let them do it. Why would we need to spend money to duplicate something Soyuz has been doing for the last 46 years? Ability to put stuff in orbit is of strategic importance, the ability to put humans is orbit is of no major importance.

Re:Asia is playing catch up (1)

joe_frisch (1366229) | about 8 months ago | (#45571223)

All depends on your goals. If you goal is manned exploration of space, then I believe that putting people in orbit is vital. If you goal is improving the standard of living on earth, or even doing space research, then it isn't.

Re:Asia is playing catch up (1)

Lotana (842533) | about 8 months ago | (#45571313)

Because of national pride. But seeing how people of USA absolutely, passionately HATE their government, I guess there isn't much of pride left.

Re:Asia is playing catch up (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#45576279)

Because the R&D dumped into these projects has massive trickle-down effects for local technology and jobs.

Re:Asia is playing catch up (3, Informative)

CrimsonAvenger (580665) | about 8 months ago | (#45570139)

While it is true that Asian countries (especially China and India) are playing catch up in the space race, they are catching up pretty quickly.

Catching up pretty quickly???

Hmm, first satellite to first unmanned lunar lander (USA): 5 years.

Also USA, first satellite to first manned lunar lander: 12 years.

First satellite to first unmanned lunar lander (China): 43 years.

China is catching up, but it's not doing it quickly - it's doing it at a glacial pace....

Re:Asia is playing catch up (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#45570159)

Chinese people live up to 600 years. Time doesn't have the same meaning to them.

Re:Asia is playing catch up (3, Insightful)

Jah-Wren Ryel (80510) | about 8 months ago | (#45570171)

Anyone can pick arbitrary milestones to make a point, but that doesn't make it meaningful.

I think the more informative numbers would be the cost (in inflation adjusted dollars) for the various projects. I don't know what they are, but I suspect China and India are doing their missions for a fraction of what it cost the US to do it, which means they will probably be doing more in the near future.

It's the DETERMINATION that counts (5, Insightful)

Taco Cowboy (5327) | about 8 months ago | (#45570307)

Anyone can pick arbitrary milestones to make a point, but that doesn't make it meaningful.

I think the more informative numbers would be the cost (in inflation adjusted dollars) for the various projects. I don't know what they are, but I suspect China and India are doing their missions for a fraction of what it cost the US to do it, which means they will probably be doing more in the near future.

The biggest differentiating factor does not come with a number attached.

What India and China have, and what the West is sorely lacking, is the DETERMINATION to make their country more technologically advance.

England used to be one of the top country in the world in term of technology, and what happened ?

They taught their children how to use Microsoft Word in school, rather than how to program.

America is still (one of the) top country (countries) in the world in term of technology, but technology is far from being what the average American is interested in.

The Americans are wasting their time debating the never-ending pro and anti-abortion issue.

The Americans prefer to watch Netflix, to vote for their next American Idol, than to encourage and lead their children towards learning the how-tos in technology.

In other words, the Indians and the Chinese have much more curiosity than the people in the Western countries, and their curiosities are propelling onwards in strengthening themselves and their respective countries in Science and Technology, while the West, still sitting in their comfortable Lazy-Boy watching the latest flix from Hollywood.

Re:It's the DETERMINATION that counts (0)

Jah-Wren Ryel (80510) | about 8 months ago | (#45570669)

In other words, the Indians and the Chinese have much more curiosity than the people in the Western countries, and their curiosities are propelling onwards in strengthening themselves and their respective countries in Science and Technology

I think you are projecting your own biases onto them. Most of this stuff is about national pride, not "curiosity." If it were curiosity they would be doing something new, not repeating what others have already done.

Re:It's the DETERMINATION that counts (2)

savuporo (658486) | about 8 months ago | (#45570711)

If it were curiosity they would be doing something new

They are doing something new. They have scientific instruments on that mission that have never been used on lunar surface before, enabling completely new discoveries. See other links in the thread here.
Chang'e-3 ( just as its predecessors ) is both a technology development mission, but also a scientific mission. Parts of their technology are same old and even based on previous Russian tech ( RHUs ) , parts are completely new. The science they will be doing will be completely new.

Re:It's the DETERMINATION that counts (1)

cusco (717999) | about 8 months ago | (#45573987)

It's pretty much impossible NOT to do something new on the Moon. All the astronauts combined, both with and without rovers, explored an area smaller than Central Park in New York. Do you think that a geologist, no matter how competent, supplied only with a scoop and a rock hammer would think that he had adequately explored even Manhattan Island?

Re:It's the DETERMINATION that counts (1)

Jah-Wren Ryel (80510) | about 8 months ago | (#45575317)

It's pretty much impossible NOT to do something new on the Moon.

You and the other guy made basically the same point are missing the fact that while all that is technically true, it isn't significant to anyone beyond the scientists who are involved. More rock samples, more roving about, etc that's not new in the way that inspires. It is incremental work. Build a permanent base, take core samples from a thousand feet below the surface, etc. That's the kind of thing that makes headlines. But so far all their headlines are nothing new.

Re:It's the DETERMINATION that counts (1)

cusco (717999) | about 8 months ago | (#45575791)

You can't do either one of those things without a whole frack of a lot more data than we currently have about, well, anywhere. Ask a builder if they would consider pouring a foundation when their only information about the job site is a few photos and maybe a single scoop of surface soil. This is a rover that can actually get answers as to whether a base can be built on a specific site, whether the chemical composition of the regolith is amenable to making it into concrete or glassification, whether the surface is stable enough to support a drilling platform, etc. Sure, it's evolutionary. They'd be foolish to commit their very limited budget to a splashy photo op that might fail because they haven't done adequate site preparation.

Re:It's the DETERMINATION that counts (1)

Jah-Wren Ryel (80510) | about 8 months ago | (#45579385)

You can't do either one of those things without a whole frack of a lot more data than we currently have about, well, anywhere

And once they get to that point, THEN Taco Cowboy can honestly claim how superior they are (note he's admitted to being chinese in another post in this discussion, so...). Until then, his hypothesis is unsupported by the evidence.

Re:It's the DETERMINATION that counts (1)

cusco (717999) | about 8 months ago | (#45579583)

Why do you think this particular suite of instruments was selected for Chang'e? It's in part so that they can get to that point, at which point they'll be well ahead of anyone else who might think seriously about colonization. Again, this is an evolutionary step. They're not as interested in making headlines as they are at making useful measurements. Stop thinking in terms of the next news cycle or the next election cycle, and take a long-range view.

Re:It's the DETERMINATION that counts (1)

Jah-Wren Ryel (80510) | about 8 months ago | (#45579725)

It's in part so that they can get to that point

Why do you think that?

Either way, my point was that Taco Cowboy's headline-level claims are unsupported by the evidence.

Re:It's the DETERMINATION that counts (2)

SuperKendall (25149) | about 8 months ago | (#45571737)

I would disagree - there are a lot of Americans that watch Netflix or Idol, but they are not necessarily lacking the will and ability to advance technology. There's still very much a startup culture in America, and thankfully even a strong hardware startup culture is coming around thanks to Kickstarter.

The U.S. is still on a good curve as far as technology creation goes.

Re:It's the DETERMINATION that counts (2)

Taco Cowboy (5327) | about 8 months ago | (#45572163)

I would disagree - there are a lot of Americans that watch Netflix or Idol, but they are not necessarily lacking the will and ability to advance technology

I do not have any statistic to prove it, what I am going to say is solely based on my personal, anecdotal experience.

When I was doing my post-graduate research I was the only Chinese in the entire research complex (and it is huge).

Over there there were few other "foreigners" like me. Most other researchers (whether they be the "regulars" or "post-grads") were born and bred Anglo-Saxon Americans.

Nowadays if you walk into any research facility located inside the United States you would see a lot of "foreign faces", whether they be from Korea or India or Japan or Brazil or China.

Even the white-skinned researchers many of them are no longer of the born and bred American Anglo Saxon stock.

Many of the Caucasoid researchers that are currently working in the American labs are from Russia or Poland or Armenia or Romania (of the former Eastern European countries).

There have been a steep decline of the REALLY BORN AND BRED AMERICANS doing critical research in American labs, at least from my own perspective.

There's still very much a startup culture in America, and thankfully even a strong hardware startup culture is coming around thanks to Kickstarter

Again I do not have the statistic to prove it, but casual reading of the kickstarter campaign reveal names that does not actually sound "American".

Same thing happen in the startup scene - for the past 2 decades or so I have been investing in many startups, inside and outside of America.

And of the many fresh faces that I have interviewed fewer than 40% are from America.

Most of the energetic young uns who have incredible ideas are from other countries.

It is as if ambition and thinking no longer play vital role for the American Spirit.

Re:It's the DETERMINATION that counts (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#45572169)

>the Indians and the Chinese have much more curiosity than the people in the Western countries

Seriously, do you even know any Indians or Chinese?

Re:It's the DETERMINATION that counts (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#45572383)

China purchased Russian space technology to get in the game. They are not developing any new technology they are just implementing technology created by someone else. Their non-space related technology also comes from what others have pioneered. They do not recognize any intellectual property rights from the countries actually doing the work. The US currently has drones flying around the solar system and one that actually left the solar system. The US Mars lander programs have helped develop the technology that will be needed in the future. The technology advances have included operating long distance tele-operations used for space navigation, planetary landings, and geography navigation mapping. They have also shown they can basically install service packs or correct any software problems from a long distance. In comparison there are a lot of people that can't even install service packs on their personal computers and servers. Just the software used in the Mars program has generated some remarkable results. The thing holding up manned missions is the technology needed to properly protect someone in space for extended periods. The space station has provided a great deal of information in this area and there is ongoing research in this area.
The US space programs are more extensive than anyone gives them credit for and even the US private sector is getting involved in space related projects.

The retired shuttles provided the knowledge needed to build the next generation of space vehicles. The unmanned X-37B has been running missions for about 2 years. It has the capability to resupply the space station but let someone else take over that task so more attention can be paid to other areas. The manned version is currently in the works. The next big space initiative should be the construction of a docking and maintenance platform in orbit for construction, maintenance, and launch capabilities to eliminate the most dangerous and expensive piece of the space operations which is just reaching orbit.

Re:It's the DETERMINATION that counts (1)

grumpyman (849537) | about 8 months ago | (#45572493)

I agree to most but one observation is that, the reason why they are more inclined now to be tech savvy is because they want to sit and watch Netflix all day (or whatever other unproductive activity) :)

Re:It's the DETERMINATION that counts (1)

DerekLyons (302214) | about 8 months ago | (#45572495)

The Americans prefer to watch Netflix, to vote for their next American Idol, than to encourage and lead their children towards learning the how-tos in technology.

And guess what? That's been true since roughly forever.
 

In other words, the Indians and the Chinese have much more curiosity than the people in the Western countries, and their curiosities are propelling onwards in strengthening themselves and their respective countries in Science and Technology, while the West, still sitting in their comfortable Lazy-Boy watching the latest flix from Hollywood.

Racism and stereotypes, ever the easy explanation for the lazy.

Re:It's the DETERMINATION that counts (1)

TheSync (5291) | about 8 months ago | (#45576305)

The Americans prefer to watch Netflix, to vote for their next American Idol

Avatar and Titanic did over $1 billion dollars in movie business in China.

China Central Television does $2 billion in advertising per year, and has "China's Got Talent" whose premiere drew 400 million viewers, produced by...FremantleMedia...who also produces...American Idol, X-Factor, and America's Got Talent.

People are the same all over the world.

Re:Asia is playing catch up (3, Insightful)

ArbitraryName (3391191) | about 8 months ago | (#45570343)

Catching up pretty quickly???

Considering the United States has no capability to put humans even in orbit, let alone other celestial bodies, one could say China has surpassed the US.

Re: Asia is playing catch up (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#45570599)

The US government has chosen not to have any man-rated launchers.

You can deplore the decision there, and the political reasons for it, but none of it represents any technological incapacity. Notice our lack of a Great Wall, it isn't because we could not build one. We just don't want one.

Re: Asia is playing catch up (1)

savuporo (658486) | about 8 months ago | (#45570975)

but none of it represents any technological incapacity.

Exactly in the same way as any middle class family man always knows he could buy a Porsche. Except that he does like his two SUVs in the family, has two kids college funds and a very nice house to take care of, and he is a responsible, sane man. So he is quietly and slightly envious of his yuppie neighbor, but he finds comfort in that he _knows_ he can buy the Porsche when he wants to. Whenever that happens.

Re:Asia is playing catch up (1)

cavreader (1903280) | about 8 months ago | (#45574419)

If the US needed someone in orbit I am pretty sure they could make it happen without to much trouble. They have used the unmanned X-37B in operations for nearly 2 years and the manned version is already being tested. Let someone else be responsible for the taxi and delivery services to the space station and let the US concentrate on developing more advanced technology. The type of technology China can steal once all the R&D has been conducted by others.

Re:Asia is playing catch up (5, Informative)

savuporo (658486) | about 8 months ago | (#45570163)

are playing catch up in the space race, they are catching up pretty quickly.

Chang'e-3 is not playing catch up - its doing many things that "west" has never done. First, only two space agencies have sent probes to land on lunar surfacce before. US never sent a teleoperated rover. Russians did, but 40 years ago with much older set of instruments.

It also carries multiple scientific instruments that have never been used on the lunar surface before ( obviously, because it has been 37 years since anyone bothered to go there ) . Namely, it has a radar underneath it that is intended to scan deep under the surface - this has never been done before. Second, it carries a telescope, which will for the first ever telescope landed on another planetary body.

See here for details : http://www.spaceflight101.com/change-3.html [spaceflight101.com]

Re:Asia is playing catch up (3, Interesting)

simonbp (412489) | about 8 months ago | (#45570625)

Actually the Apollo missions did deploy a few UV telescopes on the lunar surface. They weren't much better than Earth-orbit telescopes, and so noone has bothered since. The radar is more interesting, but probably of limited utility given the power requirements to actually penetrate deep enough to see the layered mare deposits.

Where China is decades behind the US, Europe, and Japan is that they don't really release their science products. US missions legally must release all raw and processed data after a short proprietary period (typically a year). Europe and Japan take longer, but still do usually release all their raw data. China does not, and often waits until after the mission is over before releasing even highly processed versions of the data. The lack of raw data (and opacity of how it is processed) means that it is hard to compare to other sources, and belies any claim to actual scientific motivation.

Re:Asia is playing catch up (3, Informative)

savuporo (658486) | about 8 months ago | (#45570789)

Actually the Apollo missions did deploy a few UV telescopes on the lunar surface. They weren't much better than Earth-orbit telescopes, and so noone has bothered since.

See the link i posted.

The LUT instrument is the first long-term observatory to be deployed on the Moon. The Apollo 16 mission brought a far-UV telescope to the Moon for short-term observations, collecting nearly 200 images of quality that is considered very poor by today’s standards.

Telescopes are not really instruments for a short-term observation, or their utility and potential for discovery is severely limited.

The lack of raw data (and opacity of how it is processed) means that it is hard to compare to other sources, and belies any claim to actual scientific motivation.
Chinese space program has become progressively more open over the last years, the live coverage and the amount of detail released in conference papers about Chang'e is unprecedented. They have also extended an open invitation to every space scientist for collaboration ( which US will ignore due to politics ).

We'll see if and how much data they will provide in the open - but no , other players do not often release raw data from instruments either until the researchers have had time to publish their papers or even years later.

Re:Asia is playing catch up (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#45571841)

Actually the Apollo missions did deploy a few UV telescopes on the lunar surface. They weren't much better than Earth-orbit telescopes, and so noone has bothered since. The radar is more interesting, but probably of limited utility given the power requirements to actually penetrate deep enough to see the layered mare deposits.

Where China is decades behind the US, Europe, and Japan is that they don't really release their science products. US missions legally must release all raw and processed data after a short proprietary period (typically a year). Europe and Japan take longer, but still do usually release all their raw data. China does not, and often waits until after the mission is over before releasing even highly processed versions of the data. The lack of raw data (and opacity of how it is processed) means that it is hard to compare to other sources, and belies any claim to actual scientific motivation.

LOL you're so full of shit they ooze out of your ears, NASA has been caught airbrushing moon photos and tinting mars photos.

The True Color of Mars [thelivingmoon.com]
NASA's images of Mars are the wrong color [theinsider.org]
Finding NASA's airbushed moon towers using Military's own site [realufos.net]
NASA Airbrushed Buildings on the Moon [youtube.com]

Re:Asia is playing catch up (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#45571781)

Thanks. That site is much better. I finally feel that I don't begrudge China's success when they do wonderful things like this. This is very positive. I like the suite of instruments they opted for, and I wish them all the best with this. I plan to follow this closely. I'm also interested in India's mission to Mars, but I think it's China that has really caught my attention as they're deploying a lander.

Re:Asia is playing catch up (3, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#45570187)

A lot of China's ruling class have engineering degrees (vs law business backgrounds for US critters) as they are deemed "safe". They also don't worry about the next election as they play long term. So do expect they would be more interested in science, technology and anything that would make them money in the long run.
 

China & India (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#45570315)

These 2 countries in particular have been losing the 'space race' for millenia. They used their land to support the growth of diverse populations, and they developed advanced astronomy, mathematics, medicine, biology and political organization while Europe was still in its infancy. But when europeans spurted ahead on the back of fossil fuel, steel and a more democratic approach to government, the little brown people fell behind. The modern space race is centered on global militarism and the tactical advantage of taking the high ground, so to speak. Whether any of this will benefit mankind in general remains to be seen.

Now that we have the tools to understand just what we're doing to Earth and its troposphere, you'll have to pry my belie, that man should be more focused on global ecology and the environmental problems we face here on earth from my cold, dead mind, before I concede that such space race should take precedence over the human condition or that of the evolutionary and genetic diversity we are wasting down here.

Devoting the mind power, technology and financial resources to dominating space, just to keep up with your political foes and promote the misguided belief that humans can colonize space or economically enrich our lives down here on Earth is just plain stupid.

Re:China & India (3, Insightful)

joe_frisch (1366229) | about 8 months ago | (#45570601)

The amount we spend on space is a tiny fraction of government spending.

Are you so sure that space colonization is impossible? No new science is required. We can easily imagine most of the engineering that is needed. It would be fantastically expensive - but even at say $10T, (something like 100X apollo) that is only 10 years wasted healthcare money in the US.

As an aside, I believe the goal of space IS space, not somehow enriching lives on earth. To ridiculous precision everything in the universe is not on earth - the goal is everything.

Maybe we will fail, but isn't it worth it to try?

Re:China & India (1)

savuporo (658486) | about 8 months ago | (#45570799)

The amount we spend on space is a tiny fraction of government spending.

If you take the non-defense discretionary spending slice, its actually not tiny at all. In fact, compared to budgets of NIH or NSF for example, NASA budget is disproportionally large.

Re:China & India (1)

joe_frisch (1366229) | about 8 months ago | (#45571211)

A quick check seems to show the NASA budget as 1/2 the NIH budget. Then remember that NASA represents the majority of the space budget, NIH only represents a small fraction of healthcare spending (>2T/year last I checked). Of course it all depends on your priorities and how you want to count things.

Re:China & India (1)

lennier (44736) | about 8 months ago | (#45571849)

Then remember that NASA represents the majority of the space budget

Hmm. Are you sure? What are the US Army, Navy, Air Force, NRO and NOAA space budgets? NASA isn't the only government department with launchpads; I'm not even sure they're the only one with man-rated stuff. Certainly in the 1980s at the height of Star Wars the USAF had a lot of dreams of flying their own space fighters, and of course their own Shuttle pad at Vandenberg. Heck, the Shuttle was the weird hybrid t was because it was built to their specifications and with their money, wasn't it?

Re:China & India (1)

cusco (717999) | about 8 months ago | (#45574233)

Savuporo specified "the non-defense discretionary spending slice". NASA doesn't have "man-rated stuff" any more, and the Pentagon never has (not that this would make them hesitate a moment at stuffing some poor grunt into a nose cone). "and with their money" isn't really correct. They had to please the Pentagram in order to get the congresscritters like Arlen "Magic Bullet" Specter to approve any money at all for the Shuttle. Thus you ended up with a craft designed by lawyers and generals, not rocket scientists.

Re:China & India (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#45571359)

I don't think money going towards healthcare is wasted and I don't think you can argue convincingly that even though we will eventually colonise space and that the goal of space is space, that there are not other benefits to life on earth that come from the technology developed to get around the issues of going to space. Say you spend $10T to get people on Mars. This is less than what is currently US military spending over the course of Afghanistan and Iraq wars. Say you spend this amount on healthcare, again, less than spent on wars. People who are healthier can spend time learning and inventing rather than being sick. Likewise, the technology for say, habitable space environments requires sciences that can be used to make people healthier. Even the gravity;ess enviroment of the ISS can teach us about how these things interact with the human body, such as bone density, a very big issue with aging population who are more likely to get osteoporosis. What did the wars teach us other than killing? More money to space agencies and medicine, less to the war machine, I say. In all said and done, China has done a great thing today, advancements even aside, it is still a technical marvel to have what appears to have been a flawless launch toward the moon, and, even though many of us were born after US and Soviets got there first, it is still very awesome. Well done China.

Re:China & India (3, Interesting)

lennier (44736) | about 8 months ago | (#45571809)

Are you so sure that space colonization is impossible?

Not impossible, but not nearly as practical and high-paying as colonisation of Alaska, the Australian desert, or the Pacific seabed. Ever wonder why we don't see a constant stream of high-tech utopian communes setting up greenhouses and submersible cities in out of the way places? Because if we wanted to do that, it's right there, you can use English and Anglosphere common law already, there's no launch-to-orbit fee, the land is cheap, and you get oxygen (and sometimes even water) for free. So where are all the techno-dissident libertarians living in plastic tents near Alice Springs bootstrapping themselves and their prototype 3D printers into godhood?

It's just going to be easier to do that wearing a rebreather on Olympos Mons because spaaaaace, is that the argument?

Re:China & India (1)

joe_frisch (1366229) | about 8 months ago | (#45572107)

I'm afraid Spaaaaace IS the argument - just think of it as religion.

Also though, Alaska, the Australian outback etc are all part of the Earth's overloaded ecosystem - one of the big advantages of space is that you don't need to worry about trashing it.

Re:China & India (2)

cusco (717999) | about 8 months ago | (#45576355)

You rarely find libertarians of any type "bootstrapping themselves" anywhere. Mostly they like to live in places where they can rely on the infrastructure the rest of us pay for while complaining that the government can't do anything right. Perhaps most importantly, in space the libertarian fantasy fails absolutely. Everyone has to work together or everyone dies.

No one said that it was going to be easier to colonize space, pretty much everyone clearly says that it's going to be more difficult. **BUT**, once you've done it you know how to do it pretty much everywhere. A colony near Alice Springs is going to be constructed in a completely different manner than one near Point Barrow, but one built in Lunar orbit isn't going to differ dramatically from one in the asteroid belt. On-planet your access to resources are limited to what you can purchase from others and you can only expand to the point where you impinge on neighbors, in space your resources are infinite and there is no limit on your expansion.

And yes, "because Space" is a large part of the argument. Because it really **IS** the ultimate frontier and the ultimate adventure.

Re:China & India (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#45570965)

Now that we have the tools to understand just what we're doing to Earth and its troposphere, you'll have to pry my belie, that man should be more focused on global ecology and the environmental problems we face here on earth from my cold, dead mind, before I concede that such space race should take precedence over the human condition or that of the evolutionary and genetic diversity we are wasting down here.

I don't want to pry your belie (at least I think I don't), but you seem not to realize that "the tools to understand just what we're doing to Earth and its troposphere" are primarily in space. As for the human condition, internet access in rural areas, timely and accurate hurricane warnings, and GPS are just a few of the direct benefits of investment in space technologies. There have been indirect ones, too, such as the development of integrated circuits. Anybody using those?

Re:Asia is playing catch up (1)

rubycodez (864176) | about 8 months ago | (#45571123)

wake up? do you even realize the long list of Western space projects in progress?

Re:Asia is playing catch up (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#45571919)

Isn't that the issue? Most Chinese people will be aware of their space science missions. Most Americans probably don't know anything about Messenger at Mercury. Seems to me that China cares more.

Re:Asia is playing catch up (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#45571973)

it's also true that China was using scripted language more than a 1000 years before the west... it took a long time for those scruffy headed blondies to start scribbling things down, but alas, eventually they tugged their long fringes back got things going?

Re:Asia is playing catch up (1)

AHuxley (892839) | about 8 months ago | (#45572021)

Re To the West, please wake ... up
India is really the neat way to space - you get all your staff doing theoretical work and basic science for decades. When super computer cost, materials science and your own staff are ready you build on what you can do. Never outpace your own staff. No overpriced super computing, never have to over import fancy costly materials or trust expensive outside experts.
China did the same for its domestic nuclear power.
France shows what can be done out of national pride, skill based on post WW2 political reality and the hope of export/sat related sales.
Expensive at the time and great Ada skills. The export pay back is?
The UK and Australia stand out as the national warning from efforts long past. Australia hoped to trade its location for tech help into space. Australian science would be 'on site' to learn/observe all it could and get tech offered for been so 'nice' to the UK and USA. They got to track, film, move the rockets to the launch sites but never really got any space tech for all the help they offered. In the end Australia has its sats build by Asia, the USA. The Australian military has to use a communications system seen and built by "many" other countries...
Very expensive, never secure and all rather comical.
The UK is the throwing cash at emerging space science and running out of cash story.
Buy in big, early, trust the USA and their own science was the costly UK space vision.
The GCHQ wanted to keep up with the US and really wanted satellites soon and at *any* price.
The UK "Skynet" in the 1970's was to provide UK voice encryption for the UK. The other option was for the NSA/GCHQ to work via US Type-777 satellite systems.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Skynet_(satellite) [wikipedia.org]
Zircon (building on Chevaline/Polaris) was the next epic UK step into space to escape the US "second party" hold on the UK. Never again would the NSA be able to turn the UK data stream off if the UK was seen as naughty.
The Falklands War also made sure the UK finally understood "why" they needed their own space tech. By 1988 the UK was back buying into US satellite systems but after a huge amount spent on Zircon.
The US seemed to want a civilian and military side in one setting. A shuttle to place and collect mil satellite systems on a wonderful civilian boondoggle backend.
Costs could have been hidden as a pure military project or kept low as a pure civilian science effort. The US seemed to mix the budgets with Soviet like budget results over time. Lots of nice jobs, great science, great flow of public funding. Until only the mil side gets needed next gen funding.
Different countries have different ideas. Funding always seems to catch up :)

Re:Asia is playing catch up (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#45572287)

China and India are two completely different programs.

China almost certainly developes and manufactures most of its systems, as reflected in their uniquely Chinese (for the most part) aerospace/defense systems.

OTOH, nothing in the "Indian" aerospace/defense catalog is actually substantially "Indian". (Everything is Boeing, Lockheed Martin, EADS, Russian, Chinese! manufacture).
you might have some troubles finding "Indian" contents in the following list [wikipedia.org]

I have troubles believing the "Indian" space program is the lone anomaly that's substantially of indigenous "Indian" development.

Re:Asia is playing catch up (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#45575057)

ouch, the butthurts when wikipedia labels the HAL Dhruv as of "Indian" origin, when anybody familiar with aircrafts knows it's a vanilla Eurocopter EC145.

Re:Asia is playing catch up (2)

slashmydots (2189826) | about 8 months ago | (#45573919)

Yeeeeah...they stole all our technology for rockets and everything related to space. I wouldn't consider that catching up.

Re:Asia is playing catch up (1)

cusco (717999) | about 8 months ago | (#45576423)

So do you think they should have to reinvent the airfoil if they want to build an airplane? Of course they're using pre-existing technology, they're not as stupid as the Pentagon. Just look at that darling of the techno-libertarians, SpaceX. They're using Soviet rocket engines and NASA-developed materials and Japanese-developed communications.

At least someone wants to go back to the Moon. (2)

bejiitas_wrath (825021) | about 8 months ago | (#45570209)

At least China are interested in the moon. America are only interested in Iraq and Afghanistan. I hope that China land men on the moon and send back photos and video of the lunar lander. That would shut up the conspiracy theorists.

Re:At least someone wants to go back to the Moon. (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#45570299)

"I hope that China land men on the moon and send back photos and video of the lunar lander. That would shut up the conspiracy theorists."

Err, seeing how how they are acting right now in the pacific - nudge nudge- I think they might not. And then claim the moon theirs.

Re:At least someone wants to go back to the Moon. (2)

CheezburgerBrown . (3417019) | about 8 months ago | (#45570509)

I hope China gets there and sends back word that there is no lunar lander.

Just for the lulz

Re:At least someone wants to go back to the Moon. (1)

speedlaw (878924) | about 8 months ago | (#45570653)

If the landing were a hoax, don't you think the Russians and others would have busted us years ago ? You can't fake a transmission from high orbit. Morons. The same sort that burn witches....

Re:At least someone wants to go back to the Moon. (3, Informative)

Lotana (842533) | about 8 months ago | (#45571353)

How many more decades before this "Moon landing hoax" shit will finally die?! It was never even funny for fucks sake. It was always used as an insult to demonstrate how moronic and dumb some americans are!

Any moment now... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#45570223)

...Foxconn will open a new factory in a yet undisclosed location, according to chinese official.

Re:Any moment now... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#45570285)

Think of the poor moon chinese working for an entire lunar day.

Breaking News - Dateline China (1)

Brad1138 (590148) | about 8 months ago | (#45570355)

Chinese government officially announces that the Moon is not made of cheese!

Re:Breaking News - Dateline China (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#45570617)

They think it is made of tofu. True story.

Re:Breaking News - Dateline China (1)

rubycodez (864176) | about 8 months ago | (#45571137)

shame on you.

The Japanese think it's tofu, the Chinese think it's a wonton

Re:Breaking News - Dateline China (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#45572263)

No. Chinese think it's a cold palace where Chang'e( a beautiful woman) live. There are also a white rabbit(as a pet) and a men who can't stop chopping a laurel.

By afraid, be very afraid (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#45570851)

China's ultimate plan for their space missions is not for the benefit of humanity. The culmination of the knowledge and experience gained from their missions will end up being used to put orbiting weapon platforms in space that can be positioned above any country at will. These platforms will be able to threaten and subdue any country they require compliance from, because there will be no realistic method to counter it. China has a history of stamping down on dissidence and its enemies and will take that aggressiveness to the skies.

You might argue that the US would do exactly the same thing, and you'd be wrong. The US would probably want orbital weapon platforms as well, but only as weapons of war. They'd never risk the backlash from using it as a means of threatening a country, whereas China doesn't give a shit. Heck, even if I'm wrong and the US became more of an aggressor, I'll be perfectly frank and say that I'd rather a world run by the US than the Chinese (not due to racism, but due to what the eventual outcome would be).

Posting as AC due to not wanting to lose karma due to people who keep their eyes and ears closed.

Re:By afraid, be very afraid (2)

joe_frisch (1366229) | about 8 months ago | (#45571321)

I don't disagree with your idea that China wants power, but I don't think orbital weapons are particularly useful in modern warfare. We (and several other countries) have enough raw firepower to utterly destroy any enemy. The problem is that for us (and China) our enemies are mixed with our friends. Nuclear weapons are completely useless against groups like Al-qaeda. Information collection and analysis is far better, and the US and China are both pushing very hard on that.

Re:By afraid, be very afraid (1)

AHuxley (892839) | about 8 months ago | (#45571853)

LOL and the US and Soviet Union/Russia world "probably" never think of orbital weapons AC? https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Space_weapon#Orbital_bombardment [wikipedia.org]
China has a history of allowing its students to learn, bringing back a world of skills to China and then to export the same products from China at great prices.
Russia likes to get into political, press, education, mil, energy sales and aid, turning a country into been 'pro' Russia.
The US opens a trade deal, gets "invited" to share a mil 'base' and your small country is just a beholden as to a China or Russia.
Different methods, optics, trade - same national "win" for a Russia, China or USA.

It's "Iridum", not "Iridium" (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#45570921)

The Latin for rainbow is "iris"; "iridum" is the genitive plural ("of rainbows"). "Iridium" is a shiny metal whose name also derives from "iris". And just to make sure you're still paying attention, heterochromia iridum [wikipedia.org] is Kiefer Sutherland's eye condition.

[My captcha is "furious". RIP Paul Walker.]

Re:It's "Iridum", not "Iridium" (1)

localroger (258128) | about 8 months ago | (#45571195)

My Rand McNally map of the Moon has it labeled Sinus Iridium, so maybe you should give them a call to complain.

Oi oi oi (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#45571101)

Here in Australia we dont't have a space program and we don't want one. We are happy to just spy on the Asians and report back to the American and UK overlords.

Re:Oi oi oi (1)

Lotana (842533) | about 8 months ago | (#45571363)

So why the fuck are you posting in this story?

Re:Oi oi oi (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#45572135)

probably a Kiwi

Chang'e-3 is not playing catch up (1)

Robertlee2013 (3450845) | about 8 months ago | (#45572801)

Chang'e-3 is not playing catch up.While it is true that Asian countries (especially China and India) are playing catch up in the space race, they are catching up pretty quickly. http://www.mvwotches.com/ [mvwotches.com]

Value of Moon - ice, meteorites, telerobotics (2)

Robert Walker (3451613) | about 8 months ago | (#45576353)

I also hope this will be a wake up call for the West. Telerobotics is routinely used for sea bed operations (e.g. titanic), remote surgery e.g. famous case of doctor n US operating on patient in France and so on. With modern equipment on the Moon operating a rover there will be hugely different from experiences in the Apollo era. It will be almost like being there. Also of course hugely different from Mars missions where the time delays mean that normally you download images one day and use it to plan everything for the next day and real time operation from Earth is impossible. Also there is much of interest on the Moon. We know almost nothing about its surface, know more probably about Mars than the Moon, since the only samples we have were collected nearly 50 years ago, and most except for the last mission were collected by jet fighter pilots with a few weeks training in geology, and scientists on Earth couldn't see clearly what they were collecting with the low quality video feed. So there may be many interesting rocks that were missed even in the sites already visited by humans. And they only landed in safe places too. Things we could find are - first - the polar deposits of ice, in the permanently dark craters where you can't see them optically. Know hardly anything about what is there, and it may have layered deposits of ice and organics from the ancient solar system. Meteorites on the surface from billions of years old Earth, Venus and Mars. They should be there, only thing is, are they on the surface, or buried deep so you have to dig to find them. They would be uncontaminated by present day Earth life, so could tell us a lot about early solar system. To find out more about lunar geology of course. And I very much hope, experience of telerobotic operation on the Moon may alert Nasa to the huge difference telerobotic exploration could make on Mars. With all the emphasis on human missions to the surface, the idea of exploring it telerobotically from orbit around Mars gets hardly any attention. Yet, studies show that humans in orbit around Mars could do the same amount of exploration as at least 3 parties on the surface, for of course vastly less cost. It makes no sense at all to send humans to the surface for exploration, no financial sense, because humans on the surface in their clumsy gloves and spacesuits won't be able to do much anyway is going to be much more effective to work via telerobotics. And there is no way human missions to the surface can be sterilized to teh same levels as an unmanned rover, so surely greatly increased risk of contaminating Mars, and so confusing our sensitive experiments which are so sensitive they can e.g. detect a single amino acid in a gram of soil (that's the astrobionibbler, not yet flown but hopefully will on some future mission). Plus DNA seequencers ditto able to detect a single DNA molecule in a sample, and so on.

Launch=real ... 'Rover' imagery ? Doubtful (1)

fygment (444210) | about 8 months ago | (#45579017)

Really ... will you believe any imagery coming from a supposed Chinese moon rover? Remember the Olympics? And they were faking something that was totally easy to do.

"(12.30 p.m. EDT)"? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#45584331)

someone hasn't "fallen back"? i believe we are on god's time now.

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