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Chinese Lunar Probe Lands Successfully

timothy posted about a year ago | from the remote-control dept.

Moon 250

China's Chang'e 3 moon probe made its intended landing earlier today, setting down softly in the moon's Sinus Iridum, as reported by Reuters. From the article: "The Chang'e 3, a probe named after a lunar goddess in traditional Chinese mythology, is carrying the solar-powered Yutu, or Jade Rabbit buggy, which will dig and conduct geological surveys. ... China Central Television (CCTV) broadcast images of the probe's location on Saturday and a computer generated image of the probe on the surface of the moon on its website. The probe and the rover are expected to photograph each other tomorrow. ... The Bay of Rainbows was selected because it has yet to be studied, has ample sunlight and is convenient for remote communications with Earth, Xinhua said. The rover will be remotely controlled by Chinese control centers with support from a network of tracking and transmission stations around the world operated by the European Space Agency (ESA)."

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They have the money to do this (1, Informative)

roman_mir (125474) | about a year ago | (#45690059)

The Chinese have the money to do this, no debt, huge Treasury reserves, huge surpluses. If the response by /. here is: USA should do this again, then the very next question should be: with what money? Chinese already have come out about 2 weeks ago with the statement that they won't be buying any more US Treasuries.

Re:They have the money to do this (4, Informative)

ArbitraryName (3391191) | about a year ago | (#45690257)

China has no debt [thediplomat.com] ? Really [wsj.com] ? China is no paragon of fiscal virtue, they're barreling down the road to financial ruin [wsj.com] unless they do some significant restructuring.

Re:They have the money to do this (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45690299)

The WSJ and the other wall street minions have been saying that since 1990.

Re:They have the money to do this (1, Insightful)

guanxi (216397) | about a year ago | (#45690349)

The WSJ and the other wall street minions have been saying that since 1990.

Not really since 1990, but for awhile, In every bubble in history the predictions of collapse were wrong every time, except one.

Re:They have the money to do this (3, Interesting)

HornWumpus (783565) | about a year ago | (#45690259)

The real question is how the Chinese intend to continue their exchange rate manipulation (aka the peg) without buying lots of treasuries.

The exchange rate moving to a free market will change the world. In the meantime China will learn the downside of keeping it's exports cheap.

Re:They have the money to do this (1)

citizenr (871508) | about a year ago | (#45690629)

You mean like importing craploads of gold?

Re:They have the money to do this (3, Interesting)

HornWumpus (783565) | about a year ago | (#45690753)

Not good enough. They would drive up the currencies in the gold producing regions, not the dollar and euro as they need.

Re:They have the money to do this (1)

BradMajors (995624) | about a year ago | (#45691103)

They can instead buy stock in American companies.

Re:They have the money to do this (1)

HornWumpus (783565) | about a year ago | (#45691489)

Whatever they buy (real estate, stock), they will pay too much for it. By the very manipulation they are engaged in.

Re:They have the money to do this (5, Insightful)

Runaway1956 (1322357) | about a year ago | (#45690393)

What about money? We have resources lying around the country already - both human and material. We have the ability to do it all over again, any time.

What we lack, is backbone, initiative, the dream, the drive, the balls. Our leaders today are less than men, and there seem to be no real men to run the worthless bastards out of power.

Money. Money is important, in it's own right, but money doesn't control our ability to aim high. That ability is only governed by our lack of courage.

Re:They have the money to do this (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45690419)

Maybe the women can do it instead?

Oh, please. (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45690977)

Women can't do shit.

Re:They have the money to do this (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45690993)

What we lack, is backbone, initiative, the dream, the drive, the balls.

But we teach our youth to have high self-esteem.

Isn't that enough?

Re:They have the money to do this (2)

GenieGenieGenie (942725) | about a year ago | (#45691011)

Your leaders, sir, have been put there by voters. One of those voters may even have been you. So don't put the blame on them. In democratic and pseudo-democratic countries, leaders are just reflections of their populaces.

Oh, and just to make sure you don't think this comes from some partisan BS, the other side would have done precisely the same thing.

Now go and get yourself a serious government.

Re:They have the money to do this (4, Insightful)

0123456 (636235) | about a year ago | (#45691145)

Your leaders, sir, have been put there by voters.

No, they've been put there by the people who get to choose who's on the ballot, mostly by throwing tons of money to ensure one of their kind of people wins. You can hardly blame the voters when they're given a choice between Tweedledum and Tweedledumber.

Re:They have the money to do this (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45691327)

"The people who get to choose who's on the ballot" are the party members. In a two-party system like the US, you really need to become active inside the party of your choice if you want to have a reasonable amount of say on who gets elected.

Re:They have the money to do this (1)

GenieGenieGenie (942725) | about a year ago | (#45691333)

... as I said, reflections of their populaces.

Re: They have the money to do this (1, Insightful)

DigiShaman (671371) | about a year ago | (#45690545)

Backed by private investors and tycoons, I fully expect that America's next moonshot will be lead and funded by SpaceX. Not NASA.

Re: They have the money to do this (4, Insightful)

WaywardGeek (1480513) | about a year ago | (#45690827)

For guys my age (I turned 50 last week), the first Moon walk was a pivotal event. July of 1969... I was 6 years old, and my father was a squadron commander in the 318th Fighter Squadron flying F-102s, and I lived on Cherry Hill on the Air Force base in Anchorage Alaska. We all watched the first steps taken on the Moon, and as the son of an Air Force fighter pilot, there were high expectations for me. I remember when pilots where heros. Everyone expected even greater things from my generation.

We totally let them down, at least in terms of space exploration. I blame politics, and to some extent NASA (though mostly because of politics). I also have my hopes pinned on commercial efforts like SpaceX. We were on the Moon in 1969, while people in China were still starving. I'm glad China has revived some of the dream, and I hope they do well. In the meantime, our generation gave birth to personal computers and cell phones, so it's not a total loss, but there never was another OMG moment like the Moon walk.

Re: They have the money to do this (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45691255)

Posting AC because I modded you up. I'm just turning 49. My earliest memory is being woken by my dad to watch Neil Armstong descend that ladder on out tiny B/W TV. That memory shaped my life.

Re: They have the money to do this (1)

nurb432 (527695) | about a year ago | (#45691031)

Just don't blame NASA, blame a short-sighted congress.

Kicking up the lundar dust (2, Interesting)

tttonyyy (726776) | about a year ago | (#45690083)

Interestingly, this landing may affect NASA's Lunar Atmosphere and Dust Environment Explorer operation:

http://www.space.com/23675-china-moon-lander-trouble-nasa-ladee.html [space.com]

Re:Kicking up the lundar dust (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45690095)

Fuck NASA the moon is chinese now.

Re:Kicking up the lundar dust (2)

NReitzel (77941) | about a year ago | (#45690153)

Not even the Chinese can claim a planet.

Re: Kicking up the lundar dust (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45690183)

you're from California, aren't you?

Re:Kicking up the lundar dust (2)

tttonyyy (726776) | about a year ago | (#45690237)

Not even the Chinese can claim a planet.

It's a moon, not a planet, but since we're talking on your level... if you look on the other side there is a huge "MADE IN CHINA" sign and a big array of bitcoin ASICs that they used for their 51% attack. More hashing power than Uruguay. That's how they bought the fake landing sets off NASA!

Re:Kicking up the lundar dust (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45690369)

I didn't know Uruguay was a Bitcoin mining superpower. Mod parent informative!

Re:Kicking up the lundar dust (4, Insightful)

Runaway1956 (1322357) | about a year ago | (#45690435)

Not even the English can claim a continent, right?

Anyone can claim any damned thing they like. If they are the only people around, they get to set the rules. If China puts a crew up there, with orders to confiscate the US flags already there, and replace them with Chinese flags, WTF are we going to do about it? Run to the United Nations, to whine and snivel?

Re:Kicking up the lundar dust (1)

TemperedAlchemist (2045966) | about a year ago | (#45690511)

You mean besides have serious diplomatic repercussions with pretty much everyone?

Yeah I can't see why pissing on your economic partner could be a very bad idea.

Re: Kicking up the lundar dust (1)

DigiShaman (671371) | about a year ago | (#45690575)

This! While yes, the parent is correct, I'm fairly certain China will leave this historical landmark alone for diplomatic reasons if anything. Otherwise, it's game on! King of the moon. He who lands last would have been given precedent to take down and stomp on anything else left behind by others.

Re: Kicking up the lundar dust (3, Informative)

AJWM (19027) | about a year ago | (#45690779)

While the Outer Space Treaty has some things to say about it (the Moon Treaty was never ratified, or even signed by many of the players), historically the rules of precedence for establishing claim over new lands has been:
1. First to spot it.
2. First to plant a flag on it (which historically implied setting foot)
3. First to set up a base or fort on it
4. First to establish a settlement (ie, permanent habitation) on it.

With "right of ownership" proceeding in the above order. Robotic flag planting as we've had since the mid 1960's might be step 1.5, which is where China is at. USA was at 3 for a brief time in 1969-72 (since the later Apollo missions had surface stays of several days) although disclaimed it with the "we came in peace for all mankind" verbiage on the landing plaques.

If/when China establishes a manned base on the Moon, is there going to be anyone in a position to argue about it (beyond stern words at the UN and threats to remove "Most Favored Nation" trading status) if they claim ownership?

Re: Kicking up the lundar dust (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45690865)

You do, however, need to consider the Larkin decision paramount in cases like this.

Re: Kicking up the lundar dust (1)

savuporo (658486) | about a year ago | (#45690987)

Also, with OST there are bunch of people running around claiming that it leaves the door open for private property. Well, any national space agency could technically make any of their big projects "private" with a stroke of a pen - JPL robots are built by Lockheed, China has a "China Aerospace and Technology Corporation", Russia has Roscosmos, etc etc. It would be super easy to get around the technicality of private/public there, so i dont think that aspect can really be leveraged.

Re: Kicking up the lundar dust (1)

timeOday (582209) | about a year ago | (#45691137)

Can you name any piece of land for which long-term possession was determined by flag-planting? Keep in mind the north American continent has been occupied (and fought over) for at least 12,000 years.

.

Even if you include only the separate European nations that made claims after Columbus, there was a lot of back-and-forth for hundreds of years and "I called it first!" was practically never the determining factor in the outcome. In the end the territory was all taken by newly-organized nations that didn't identify with any of the original claimants. (What percentage of GDP in the western hemisphere comes from colonies currently ruled by Spain or Portugal?)

Re: Kicking up the lundar dust (2)

GumphMaster (772693) | about a year ago | (#45691433)

If we are discounting prehistoric claimants (much as the Europeans did at the time in discounting the native population)... the continent of Australia. Dutch, French, Portuguese and other groups had found parts of the continent prior to Cook's flag planting and claim of the eastern regions in 1770. The first British colony exploiting the explicit claim was established in 1788 (Sydney). The British claim stuck and it was not challenged in any substantive way. The French claimed western Australia (1772) and the Dutch Van Diemen's Land (modern Tasmania, 1642) but neither nation settled or defended these claims in material ways when challenged by British settlement.

New Zealand is an another example that comes close, although the French did manage to create a settlement on purchased land there (Akaroa) and Mori settlement occurred inside the time span of documented European history.

Re: Kicking up the lundar dust (1)

GumphMaster (772693) | about a year ago | (#45691461)

No, not "Mori", "Maori" with a macron on the a... it's just that Slashdot is too 1970's to realise that ASCII just doesn't cut it in the Internet age.

Re: Kicking up the lundar dust (1)

myth24601 (893486) | about a year ago | (#45691471)

The only rule that matters is:

5. Whoever has the power to enforce a claim, owns the claim.

Re:Kicking up the lundar dust (1)

smash (1351) | about a year ago | (#45690851)

LOL. What some people (mainly americans) fail to see is that China could quite happily not have you as an economic partner? Why? Because you never actually pay, you're just racking up credit.

And it's looking like you never actually will be able to pay, either. Hence China buying massive amounts of gold and attempting to get out of US treasuries slowly and quietly without crashing them.

Re:Kicking up the lundar dust (3, Insightful)

Adriax (746043) | about a year ago | (#45690973)

China is cashing in on that debt quite often, buying up american businesses and the physical assets associated with.
Trading land for trinkets is a time honored american tradition.

Re:Kicking up the lundar dust (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45691091)

You do know that Goldman Sachs holds more US debt than the whole of China right?

Re:Kicking up the lundar dust (1)

dk20 (914954) | about a year ago | (#45691315)

According to Goldmans site they have $194 billion in short term money market investments. That is the sort of place you would buy government bonds.

China on the other hand holds $1.1 Trillion in US debt

Re:Kicking up the lundar dust (2)

Jeremi (14640) | about a year ago | (#45691107)

LOL. What some people (mainly americans) fail to see is that China could quite happily not have you as an economic partner? Why? Because you never actually pay, you're just racking up credit.

As the aphorism goes: If you owe your bank $10,000, you have a problem. If you owe your bank $10,000,000, your bank has a problem.

I doubt the Chinese are going to do anything that might significantly increase the risk of a default on their loans to the USA.

Re:Kicking up the lundar dust (3, Insightful)

thrillseeker (518224) | about a year ago | (#45690639)

You only own what you can defend.

Re:Kicking up the lundar dust (1)

rossdee (243626) | about a year ago | (#45691297)

"Not even the English can claim a continent, right?"

The English did have competition in North America (France, Spain) and Africa (France, Belgium) > India was only a sub-continent. And of course all of them already had inhabitants. There are no people already living on the moon.

Re:Kicking up the lundar dust (2)

K. S. Kyosuke (729550) | about a year ago | (#45690253)

When that happens, nobody will be able to say that the Chinese landing was a fake. Or, more likely, the conspiracy theorists will say that USA and China are colluding in secret to mutually corroborate their respective fakes.

Re:Kicking up the lundar dust (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45690389)

The article failed to mention the fact that the Chang'e 3 turned off all propulsion systems at the height of 3 meters above surface, then let it drop like a rock and risk damage to high tech equipments just to reduce dust.

The dust that will be produced will be nothing compare that to the recent US moon mission where they struck the moon deliberately then collect dust samples to see what's underground.

The Lunar Crater Observation and Sensing Satellite [wikipedia.org]

Centaur had nominal impact mass of 2,305 kg (5,081 lb), and an impact velocity of about 9,000 km/h (5,600 mph),[7][8] releasing the kinetic energy equivalent of detonating approximately 2 tons of TNT (8.86 GJ).

LCROSS suffered a malfunction on August 22, depleting half of its fuel and leaving very little fuel margin in the spacecraft.[9]

Centaur impacted successfully on October 9, 2009, at 11:31 UTC. The Shepherding Spacecraft descended through Centaur's ejectate plume, collected and relayed data, impacting six minutes later at 11:37 UTC.[10]

Re:Kicking up the lundar dust (1)

khallow (566160) | about a year ago | (#45691119)

The dust that will be produced will be nothing compare that to the recent US moon mission where they struck the moon deliberately then collect dust samples to see what's underground.

Sure it will. The dust from those long ago impacts settled long ago and won't affect the Chinese mission. The mission planners for the Chinese lander were just worried about dust from their landing interfering with their own vehicle, which is a very reasonable concern.

As to the alleged drama to NASA's LADEE mission, they have a much better scientific opportunity than they were going to have. They can just run the mission longer than planned so that they get the atmosphere with the Chang'e 3 injection and without as that contribution dissipates.

Re:Kicking up the lundar dust (2)

0123456 (636235) | about a year ago | (#45691167)

The article failed to mention the fact that the Chang'e 3 turned off all propulsion systems at the height of 3 meters above surface, then let it drop like a rock and risk damage to high tech equipments just to reduce dust.

You do realize that's about the equivalent of dropping 'high tech equipments' from eighteen inches on Earth, right? My girlfriend has dropped the netbook further than that on many occasions.

Re:Kicking up the lundar dust (3, Informative)

AJWM (19027) | about a year ago | (#45690673)

Dust? Seriously?

This is high vacuum we're talking about. Lunar dust is just tiny rocks, they get kicked up and immediately fall back to the surface. It's not as though the dust is going to float for days (or even minutes) in the (virtually non-existent) lunar atmosphere. (Sure sign of badly written SF or shot-in-a-studio movie footage: dust on the real Moon doesn't cloud, it sprays then drops.)

Sure, the exhaust plume gases will stick around for a bit. That will give LADEE something to help calibrate its instruments against, since presumably the reaction products are known.

Re:Kicking up the lundar dust (1)

TheGavster (774657) | about a year ago | (#45690923)

I believe that there is something to be said for an age where there are potential scheduling conflicts between lunar probes.

First (4, Informative)

Dan East (318230) | about a year ago | (#45690089)

In case anyone cares, the first soft moon landing was on January 31, 1966 by the Soviet lander Lana-9. It still boggles my mind how they were able to achieve that without anything remotely resembling a modern computing device.

Re:First (2, Informative)

fisted (2295862) | about a year ago | (#45690131)

Sorry to break it to you but they did have turing-complete machines in '66, which do more than ``remotely resemble'' modern computing devices, as the fundamental principles didn't change.

Re:First (2, Informative)

Dan East (318230) | about a year ago | (#45690181)

Are you saying that Luna-9 was controlled by a Turing-complete computer? From what I can discover it only had a programmable timing device, which would trigger a fixed list of tasks after variable delays. Stuff like shutting off the main engines was done by a physical switch that detected when the lander was just above the surface. I stand by my comment that it was not controlled by anything remotely resembling a modern computer.

Re:First (2)

hey! (33014) | about a year ago | (#45690509)

May have been. The Russians have always had a lot of great mathematicians, and they certainly understood the concepts. They had a significant computer industry, often copying western systems to be sure, but they were certainly could and did make their own designs going all the way back to the 50s.

Anyhow, they wouldn't have needed to Turing complete machines. In many ways back in the 60s specialized circuits might have been simpler and more robust. By the mind 60s they had ballistic missiles with multiple, independently targeted reentry vehicles, so they clearly had a lot of capability when it came to guidance systems. In some ways a lunar landing controller would have been simpler than MIRV guidance.

Re:First (1)

0123456 (636235) | about a year ago | (#45691193)

Anyhow, they wouldn't have needed to Turing complete machines.

They wouldn't have trusted it with a Turing-complete machine because it might have gained sentience and defected.

Re:First (4, Interesting)

wjcofkc (964165) | about a year ago | (#45691235)

Luna 9 did not have a computer. It was all careful launch timing and Newtonian mechanics to ensure it got where it needed to be and deployed what it needed to precisely when it needed to. The closest thing it had to a computer was a clock that made these things happen at precise intervals. From Wikipedia:

The lander had a mass of 99 kilograms (220 lb). It used a landing bag to survive the impact speed of 22 kilometres per hour (14 mph).[2] It was a hermetically sealed container with radio equipment, a program timing device, heat control systems, scientific apparatus, power sources, and a television system.

If the whole thing weighed 220 lbs., where would you even fit a meaningful 1966 computer? Never underestimate persistent human beings.

Re:First (1)

gtall (79522) | about a year ago | (#45691367)

No, not Turing complete, their memories were FINITE. To be Turing complete means to simulate (at least) an infinitely long tape.

Re:First (5, Informative)

Trepidity (597) | about a year ago | (#45690173)

Nitpick: the name is Luna-9 [wikipedia.org] .

The first landing of any kind (a crash landing), was the Soviet Luna-2 in 1959. The U.S. then sent a series of crash-impact spacecraft in the early 1960s, the Ranger series, whose goal was to take photos during the final descent, along with testing out systems. Five of the nine Ranger missions successfully impacted the moon, and three of them managed to send back photos.

Then as you note, Luna-9 was the first non-crash landing, in 1966.

Re:First (5, Interesting)

david.given (6740) | about a year ago | (#45690649)

As an interesting addendum:

Luna-9's pictures were sent back using one of the standard encodings used for wireless newspaper photography transmission. During the transmission, the Jodrell Bank radio telescope in the United Kingdom was listening in (well, wouldn't you?) and the astronomers there recognised the encoding, phoned someone at the Daily Express, and as a result the first pictures from the surface of the moon ever were printed in a British newspaper while the USSR was still wondering what to do with them.

There is some speculation that the encoding scheme was picked deliberately to make sure this happened...

Re:First (4, Interesting)

Thagg (9904) | about a year ago | (#45690231)

Curiously, in my youth in the 60's, we referred to Luna-9 as a "hard landing", and the first "soft landing" was Surveyor 1 three months later. Now, it's clear that the Luna 9 lander really was a soft landing (similar to the landings of the Mars Pathfinder and Spirit/Opportunity rovers) and we were just ragging on the Soviets.

exploration vs PR (1)

globaljustin (574257) | about a year ago | (#45690467)

"hard landing" and "soft landing" is one way to think of it...

a better way might be "controlled landing"...but even that could be nitpicked

the difference is the level of control

think of it as the difference between a plane landing vs an object dropping by parachute

the implication is that if you're just doing it as a Cold War publicity stunt, you can get away with just flinging shit up there willy-nilly, whereas if you are actually trying to explore you use the landing sequence as an opportunity to iteratively improve mission capabilities for further exploration.

Re:First (2)

rasmusbr (2186518) | about a year ago | (#45690381)

In case anyone cares, the first soft moon landing was on January 31, 1966 by the Soviet lander Lana-9. It still boggles my mind how they were able to achieve that without anything remotely resembling a modern computing device.

There were plenty of good analog designers available back then.

They probably basically used one or several analog control systems to control the descent based on signals from a radar and one or several gyros. The landing sequence could have been terminated on landing by a simple mechanical switch.

Come to think of it, the Moon is just about close enough that they could potentially have landed it by hand if the craft was sending back it's radar signal and gyro signals to Earth.

cannon ball (1)

globaljustin (574257) | about a year ago | (#45690413)

It still boggles my mind how they were able to achieve that without

It was a radio transmitter packed into a cannon ball, just like Sputnik...not exactly 'space age' and certainly not requiring a modern computing device

Techies today have kind of fetishized the command line, but there are other ways to program a machine.

You can hurl a wad of electronics at a world and send pictures back or you can **EXPLORE**

Guess which one this China mission is?

Re:cannon ball (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45690567)

Ah yes, "explore" as some kind of romantic fetishisation of test pilots in rubber suits to pick up rocks that we have to bring back to Earth anyways to analyze... Just send machines. We are exploring the universe just fine from RIGHT HERE ever since Galileo built a telescope or Ptolemy made drawings.

What is it with this ridiculous notion of sending people? Remember how they thought Mars had a civilization in the 19th century? Yeah, woops. Or how Venus was this lush paradise full of clouds! Oh wait, those clouds are sulfuric acid? Oops. All this we EXPLORED FROM RIGHT HERE.

There's nowhere to go, nothing to do. Grow up and look around you. There are so many things to explore right here, you disgusting navel-gazing autistic psychopath.

Re:cannon ball (1)

AJWM (19027) | about a year ago | (#45690809)

There are so many things to explore right here, you disgusting navel-gazing autistic psychopath. [bold added]

LOL! Who is navel gazing, now?

bookmarked (1)

globaljustin (574257) | about a year ago | (#45690859)

you disgusting navel-gazing autistic psychopath.

i came...

then bookmarked the post for posterity...it's like my own personal APK

Re:First (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45690843)

It still boggles my mind how they were able to achieve that without anything remotely resembling a modern computing device.

My mind is not boggled by that. The task isn't that complicated. You need range finding to the surface as input, and based on that analog circuits could control things. The Soviets used primitive computing because it was affordable and fully up to the task. We would use digital technology today because it's ubiquitous, low mass, and the accepted solution.

Re:First (1)

ihtoit (3393327) | about a year ago | (#45691109)

three words: paper orbital mechanics.

Apart from injection burns and terminal braking manoeuvres, the spacecraft is a passenger of Newton. Launch windows come into play here, taking into account: local weather conditions, atmospheric height, local gravitational anomalies, and the final say comes down to where you are and where you expect the destination mass to be in x number of days.

All this can be done on paper. Apollo was all done on paper and slide rules before the first rocket was lit. Before even Mercury, Apollo was timetabled down to the second. They knew just how much thrust was needed, how much fuel they needed to carry, and where they wanted to land, and how long they wanted to stay on the surface.

Hell, even Verne and Wells had a handle on this. Both wrote stories describing in incredible detail how one would get to the Moon, a feat equally, if not more, daring than the Saturn V shots in that those two stories involved the firing of capsules out of a gun - 22,000G would be a bit much for even the hardiest of humans.

Caveat: it is possible to perform a direct flight to the Moon without using gravitational slingshots. Problem is this would require a LOT of propellant. Probably too much for a single lifter, the spacecraft would have to be assembled and fuelled in orbit, and flight time to a Lunar landing could be measured in hours - halfway out to accelerate to maximum velocity, then spin the whole thing around and decelerate through the other half of the trip to a soft tail landing. Very inefficient and totally dangerous.

Collaboration - YAY! (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45690109)

I'm happy that the ESA is willing to let the Chinese to use their transmission infrastructure. This way hopefully more science will be done.

one step to utopia (1)

Trepidity (597) | about a year ago | (#45690119)

Mars next! [wikipedia.org]

Images from the surface (5, Interesting)

mbone (558574) | about a year ago | (#45690123)

There is a cool animated gif [postimg.org] of the descent imager pictures of the landing, and a false color image [twitter.com] of the surface.

Re:Images from the surface (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45690277)

Actually the photos you've been seeing from NASA are the false color and airbrushed photos.

100% Proof Of Alien Civilizations Exist On The Moon - Nasa Lies Uncovered In Colour [youtube.com]

Live Moon in true color [youtube.com]

I don't blame them, they got to paint all the wide shot moon photos grey otherwise the glass dome structure will be obvious.

Moon glass dome [youtube.com]

Re:Images from the surface (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45690307)

Fake! I've seen more realistic footage in 60's Sci-Fi movies!

Re:Images from the surface (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45690569)

False color image? You gotta see this: Amazing Moon Anomolies [youtube.com] .

When are we going? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45690129)

Now the question is when are we going again and to stay?

Re:When are we going? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45690217)

Well, first of all, we need whalers and harpoons.

Re:When are we going? (1)

thrillseeker (518224) | about a year ago | (#45690663)

Forget the blackjack.

Re:When are we going? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45690309)

The same time when we'll go to the bottom of the ocean and stay. It's about as useful. We already have all the pictures of dead rocks that we want, and we already know how to get lunar samples back without sending people. The Russians, again, beat you to that technology. The spinoffs are obvious when you look at Russia today!

Jade Rabbit Buggy... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45690157)

Science and "luck" culture make strange lunar bedfellows.

Hey kids, check this out (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45690233)

Russia lands robotic sample return mission on the Moon! Surely this means they will beat us because of all the spinoffs and glory!

Oh wait, it already happened in 1970. Anyone going to move to Russia now?

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Luna_16 [wikipedia.org]

Welcome to the 20th century China! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45690273)

Ok I'm just poking fun. Seriously, India has a probe on its way to Mars. The US has to step up its game!

Re:Welcome to the 20th century China! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45690399)

Why? They're just imitating big brother. Space is still empty and deadly and nothing has changed rocket-wise to change that equation. They're gonna find out the same thing the US figured out 40 years ago. No one cares, we know space is empty and sci-fi just got it wrong. End of story. We also don't have supersonic passenger transport anymore either, should we "step up" our game here too? Of course not, that vision is as quaint as bell bottom jeans. So is space.

::yawn:: (1)

globaljustin (574257) | about a year ago | (#45690541)

The US has to step up its game!

wake me up when one of them walks on the moon or has a bot/rover sending selfie tweets from another panet

Re:Welcome to the 20th century China! (2)

couchslug (175151) | about a year ago | (#45691019)

"The US has to step up its game!"

Not really. If we are wise we'll work on the automated remote-manned systems we must have to interact with the permanently hostile environement of outer space and let others who don't have to overspend to protect crews send meat tourists first.

That humanity get into space would be useful, but that doesn't mean every nation should pursue it the same way.

Successful terrestrial exploration relied on cheap expendable ships and expendable crews. Life was cheap and so was wood.

Now it costs so much to protect a few humans to US/EU standards there is no advantage to sending them. However, robots are useful on Terra and in space, so there is every reason to send them. Robot development cycles can be rapid and they are ideal for risk-taking without the human drama.

Deafening silence (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45690283)

Deafening silence.

The price of not using Houston to launch.
Same price Alien abductors pay for kidnaping eskimos when
they should know by now its real only if they land in Roswell.

If the mission failed ... (2)

guanxi (216397) | about a year ago | (#45690383)

I genuinely hope it is successful. The rise of China is one of the great humanitarian stories in history, lifting hundreds of millions from poverty. I expect the people of China to make great contributions to the world.

However, it's still 2013 and China's government is still authoritarian, unaccountable and non-transparent, and the Chinese press is still restricted. If the mission failed, would they admit it, or release some photos anyway? (Could they get away with it? Could other governments or amateurs with telescopes see for themselves?)

Re:If the mission failed ... (3, Informative)

gerddie (173963) | about a year ago | (#45690445)

If the mission failed, would they admit it, or release some photos anyway? (Could they get away with it?)

No, because ESA [esa.int] helps during the whole mission.

Greatest humanitarian stories? (3, Insightful)

SuperKendall (25149) | about a year ago | (#45690679)

The rise of China is one of the great humanitarian stories in history

I think it's great the Chinese were successful at landing on the moon, but... greatest humanitarian stories in history??? Do you remember just how many TENS OF MILLIONS of people died [paulbogdanor.com] during the communist takeover and resulting purges? Or the famines?

Re:Greatest humanitarian stories? (0)

Mister Liberty (769145) | about a year ago | (#45691039)

Dickhead! How many Americans got evicted from ther homes by way of the last financal crisis?
And that was by design.

Not that I care. I am not an American, so don't feel pressed to answer. It's your problem, just because of the
likes of you never noticing what transpires under you nose.

But maybe just maybe you should feel a little bit of inhibition and when raising your hand to point a finger.
So yeah: Dickhead!

Um, orders of magnitude? (1)

SuperKendall (25149) | about a year ago | (#45691393)

Dickhead! How many Americans got evicted from ther homes by way of the last financal crisis?

Very few? And also BTW they could find alternate shelter in a number of other ways including just spending less on housing, or declaring bankruptcy and staying where they were?

I find it pretty ironic you are saying *I* am the one who is a dickhead for pointing out tens of millions of people being tortured or executed or starved to death, while you are pointing out people that number a few orders of magnitude less in number who have to move into cheaper housing... I mean really, if there ever was a dick move what you have just done is the very definition.

But who cares if 80 million Chinese die, right? Isn't that your thinking process? I guess non-Americans really are more racist.

I dub thee Super Dick. And I ignore all further communications from Super Dicks on the grounds that they are mentally incapable of defending their Super Dickitude.

Re:Greatest humanitarian stories? (3, Insightful)

the gnat (153162) | about a year ago | (#45691323)

greatest humanitarian stories in history??? Do you remember just how many TENS OF MILLIONS of people died [paulbogdanor.com] during the communist takeover and resulting purges? Or the famines?

I think the GP was referring to the post-1980 era, which really was a great humanitarian story, especially compared to the 30 years preceding it. The Economist magazine uses phrases like this all the time, and there's never any question about what they're referring to.

Nothing else comes to mind post 1980??? (3, Insightful)

SuperKendall (25149) | about a year ago | (#45691457)

I think the GP was referring to the post-1980 era, which really was a great humanitarian story.

Oh yeah, that was Awesome! [wikipedia.org]

Sorry, but pairing the term "China" with "Humanitarian" just doesn't jibe with any period of time you care to name. Any lifting of the Chinese people has pretty much been accomplished by their own efforts, not the Chinese government...

Re:If the mission failed ... (3, Informative)

ihtoit (3393327) | about a year ago | (#45691197)

(...Could other governments or amateurs with telescopes see for themselves?)

No, because the probe is just too damn small.

None of them can see it. The probe (or to borrow another local example, the Apollo 11 flag) is far too small to be seen with any telescope on Earth, or even the Hubble space telescope (which is in low Earth orbit).

The Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (orbiting the Moon) took pictures of the Apollo 11 landing site, however. It showed a long shadow cast by the lower lander stage, but not the stage itself - again, it's just too small.

You can approximate the angular size of an object by dividing its width by its distance from the telescope:

A galaxy might be around 100,000 light years in diameter. At a distance of ten billion light years, it would have an angular size of:
(100,000 light years) / (10,000,000,000 light years) = 0.00001 radians. HST can (and has) taken images containing *millions* of these galaxies.

Now we do the same for a flag on the Moon, generously estimated as 1 metre in width:
(1 metre) / (384,400,000 meters) = 0.0000000026 radians

Well, look at that. Seeing the flag requires about 3800 times the resolving power needed to see the galaxy. Who would have guessed?

This is something that *cannot* be done optically. The wavelength of visible light is just too long. By about 3800 times the wavelength needed. Now we're in high-energy cosmic ray (X-Ray in the Gigawatts) range.

Obligatory Pun (2)

bradorsomething (527297) | about a year ago | (#45690643)

It is only a matter of time until they wok on the moon.

Right (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45691097)

Chang’e is coming.

BTW, SciFri Ira Flatow interviewed David Shukman, BBC Science Editor, about a week ago nice coverage what Chinese are up to with their project [sciencefriday.com] , it was possibly best lay summary what I've heard up to this date.

ac

National zones on the moon? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45690721)

Hopefully everything outside earth is managed peacefully with no single country laying claims to exclude others.

Wrong dictionary used (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45690791)

"Hey you! Look up name for space probe in dictionary!"
"Looks like a lot of these 'probes' are called 'Rabbit'!"
"Excellent!"

Rejoice!!! (1)

Mister Liberty (769145) | about a year ago | (#45690999)

Space is not the USA's!

wonder if.. (1)

houbou (1097327) | about a year ago | (#45691025)

it will find the US flag from 1969.. :)

Sinus Iridium? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45691319)

My doctor prescribed that after my nasal cancer.

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