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Photos Stream Back From China's Lunar Lander

timothy posted about 4 months ago | from the entire-mountain-covered-in-cheese dept.

China 268

After the successful soft landing of its carrier vessel on the surface of the moon, China's Jade Rabbit lunar rover has begun beaming back photos of the lunar surface. From the BBC's article, with links to video as well as several photos, comes this description: "Chang'e-3 is the third unmanned rover mission to touch down on the lunar surface, and the first to go there in more than 40 years. The last was an 840kg (1,900lb) Soviet vehicle known as Lunokhod-2, which was kept warm by polonium-210. But the six-wheeled Chinese vehicle carries a more sophisticated payload, including ground-penetrating radar which will gather measurements of the lunar soil and crust. The 120kg (260lb) Jade Rabbit rover can reportedly climb slopes of up to 30 degrees and travel at 200m (660ft) per hour. ... The rover and lander are powered by solar panels but some sources suggest they also carry radioisotope heating units (RHUs), containing plutonium-238 to keep them warm during the cold lunar night. According to Chinese space scientists, the mission is designed to test new technologies, gather scientific data and build intellectual expertise. It will also scout valuable mineral resources that could one day be mined."

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268 comments

Burning Bush? (4, Funny)

retroworks (652802) | about 4 months ago | (#45698839)

That first photo makes me think they are coming back with tablets and commandments...

Those who think that moon landing was a fake ... (5, Insightful)

Taco Cowboy (5327) | about 4 months ago | (#45699115)

It's time for those who insisted that the moon landing by the Apollo astronauts were fake to stop spreading their falsehood.

The moon pictures that the Yutu rover and the Chang'e 3 lander take look very much like the pictures that NASA provided us some 40-odd years ago - of course they can try to claim that these new batch of pictures are fake as well.

I do not understand why there are still people holding on to that kind of conspiracy theory. I just do not understand.

Re:Those who think that moon landing was a fake .. (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45699135)

Pics or it didn't hap-... Uh, wait...

Re:Those who think that moon landing was a fake .. (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45699169)

Never attribute to malice that which can be adequately explained by stupidity.

A conspiracy to ruin Slashdot? (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45699191)

Guys, something is seriously wrong with my Slashdot. It's showing some "Beta" banner by the logo and now the site is basically unusable. It took me a good 10 minutes to even find where this comment box is located!

The text looks really fucking bad now. Almost all of the text is really small, the fonts render very poorly, and a lot of the text is gray on slightly darker gray. It is extraordinarily hard to read. Even the text in this comment box is very small, and its in italics and it's just so hard to read.

There's a lot of wasted space now, too. I've got a 28" monitor and probably 80% of the screen is empty gray areas. The rest is tiny, tiny text that's goddamn unreadable.

When I look at the main story list I can't tell where one story ends and another begins. Some of them have huge images, but others have huge blank gray areas. And I have to scroll so much now just to see all of the stories! I used to be able to read like 6 at a time on my screen. Now I can barely fit in even just two!

The comment threads are even worse. The whole lack of contrast means it's so hard now to figure out what is a comment and what isn't. For crying out loud, everything here is now gray-on-gray-on-gray-on-gray, with some teal on the buttons just to make them very distracting.

I thought that the last design was horrible compared to the one before it, but my god, this new "Beta" Slashdot is virtually unusable. I literally won't be able to continue using this. I can't even read the fucking story or comment text here any longer, and now it's nearly impossible to post comments. There's no reason for me to stay if I can't even just read the content here passively!

Re:A conspiracy to ruin Slashdot? (0, Offtopic)

nospam007 (722110) | about 4 months ago | (#45699341)

"Guys, something is seriously wrong with my Slashdot. It's showing some "Beta" banner by the logo and now the site is basically unusable. It took me a good 10 minutes to even find where this comment box is located!"

Change your bookmark to:
http://slashdot.org/?nobeta=1 [slashdot.org]

Re:A conspiracy to ruin Slashdot? (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45699413)

How long do you really think that that override will be around? Do you seriously see it surviving past this supposed beta period? I don't. I also don't have much faith in the numerous, and severe, problems with the beta site being resolved properly before then. That makes depending on that override even a worse idea.

A much better idea is to get these complaints out in the open, to mod them up whenever possible, and to pray that those running Slashdot take them seriously. This is the only hope in hell there is for avoiding the desertion of this site that will inevitably happen once the beta becomes the main, and only available, Slashdot site.

US propaganda machine behind Hollywood moon landin (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45699373)

Big difference: China landings are driven by science and verifiable by high-tech equipment.
US Hollywood moon landings were driven by hate towards Russians who put first man in space.

Re:US propaganda machine behind Hollywood moon lan (4, Interesting)

ebno-10db (1459097) | about 4 months ago | (#45699901)

Big difference: China landings are driven by science and verifiable by high-tech equipment.
US Hollywood moon landings were driven by hate towards Russians who put first man in space.

Here I was expecting some troll to criticize the Chinese effort for being a copy of what was done 40+ years ago, or simply a stunt. Instead I find a troll saying "China landings are ... verifiable by high-tech equipment", thus implying that US efforts weren't. Are you a conspiracy nut suggesting the US landings were faked?

"China landings are driven by science ...". The science is great, but if you think that prestige and publicity aren't part of the reason for the Chinese effort, then I've got a bridge to sell you. I've also got no problem with that being part of the motivation.

"US Hollywood moon landings were driven by hate towards Russians who put first man in space." Wow, you've heard about the space race - a term that was coined at the time because it described the obvious. BTW, what do you think motivated the USSR? It wouldn't have been a race without at least two sides. However, "hate" is a ridiculously way to describe such a competition. Whatever you say about the motivation, the space race was a lot more peaceful than the arms race. A nice side effect was all the science done and the technology developed. Out of curiosity though, what was Hollywood about the moon landings? That they televised it? Not even Hollywood is that good - it got 125M viewers around the world. Maybe it had something to do with it being such an impressive and historic event, albeit a silly thing like the first time that people set foot on any body other than the earth.

P.S. You also overlook that this Chinese probe is more analogous to a Soviet mission of 40 years ago, than to the manned US landings, But hey, any idiotic excuse to bash the US, right?

Re:Those who think that moon landing was a fake .. (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45699507)

Sorry, I will always maintain that it was faked by a nation bent on claiming some pride during a power struggle with another superpower. I refuse to believe that we went there in 1969 yet in 2013 aren't going there once a week. (Or at least once a month. Heck, once a year!)

"But we have no reason to go there every week, douche bag AC !"

Yeah, that's why no one has ever revisited Everest, the Amazon, the South Pole and other inhospitable locations since they were first conquered.

Bull. Crap.

Re:Those who think that moon landing was a fake .. (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45699733)

Hey, dumbshit, do you think it would have been possible to fool the Soviets? Or that they would have let the US get away with lying to the world?

Re:Those who think that moon landing was a fake .. (2)

speedlaw (878924) | about 4 months ago | (#45700011)

You could not fake radio messages from the moon. The signals where UHF, line of sight. Anyone with the equipment to receive it also had to point those antennas....triangulate......

flipphone quality photos (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45699377)

looks like they used a samsung flip phone for the camera.

Students could send an iphone up and get a panorama image..

Re:flipphone quality photos (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45699667)

So go ahead and do it and post the pics for everyone.

Re:flipphone quality photos (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45699783)

Hear, hear. At least ONE person has noticed how incredibly poor quality these photos are. Why aren't the news media questioning this? Are the Chinese deliberately trying to make the moon look 'boring' so that the public won't want to follow this mission and future ones? WTF?

And where are we now? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45698843)

The space race is a fit subject for international cooperation and competition.

Queue the nay-sayers in 3...2...

Re:And where are we now? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45700031)

Cue the nay-sayers

Re:And where are we now? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45700063)

cue please not nit-pick?

Re:And where are we now? (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45700065)

The Space race is half a century old by now. It's ancient history. Get over it. We went there, we saw, we never went back. Space is empty, dead, deadly and hostile. You want international cooperation and competition? Figure out the new social model that we'll need to sustain the 7 billion of us that are staying right here, right now.

We're not running out of resources. We have enough to feed everyone here, why aren't we? Why are we fighting? Why do we need to work so much despite the much-vaunted technology and productivity we have?

Where are we now? Right here! What more do you want? *Everything* and *everyone* is right here!

SO, does it look the same as it did in 1969? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45698845)

This is vital science and we all know China is only able to progress its technology by sending a camera on wheels to the Moon.

Re:SO, does it look the same as it did in 1969? (5, Funny)

Seumas (6865) | about 4 months ago | (#45698901)

I'm really tired of the media and politicians dismissing our lack of investment in science and space exploration by belittling Chinese efforts. "Durp durp, we already done been to the Moon, you stupid backwards Chiners durp durp!".

It's a first step that they'll likely quickly capitalize on and while our media and government like to convince us that the Chinese are goofy little 50-years-later-runners-up, they're an economic and political powerhouse that will, if they decide to invest further in it, leapfrog our accomplishments by light years. And sooner rather than later.

If we don't get serious about doing it ourselves -- or even better, co-operating with scientists on an international scale for the betterment of everyone -- we're going to look like the back water yokels.

It's just like JavaScript or NoSQL. (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45699149)

Your attitude reminds me of those people who advocate the use of JavaScript or NoSQL. They're always going on about how "innovative" both are, and how they're "going to be the future" ("sooner rather than later", too!). But on closer inspection, we see that there's really nothing inherently special about them. In fact, we see they're merely lower-quality rehashings of what we had several decades ago.

NoSQL databases literally are 1960s-era technology that has been rediscovered today. They aren't innovative, and they aren't special. In fact, if you can do it with a NoSQL database, it can be done with a relational database.

JavaScript has an early 1970s-era syntax, with semantics that are a shitty misunderstanding of what we knew in the 1960s and 1970s, and implementations that are worse to deal with than 1980s and early 1990s scripting languages.

But none of these facts will get in the way of people screaming about how "great" and "novel" they are, even though they're so far behind what we had so many years earlier. These people will somehow claim that reimplementing classic games from the 1980s or 1990s in JavaScript, although running a lot slower on far more powerful computers, is an achievement worthy of praise. Well, the reality is that it is not impressive at all.

The same goes for China. Industrially, they're getting to where the US was in the mid-1800s. Their space technology is in the 1950s, and early 1960s. Socially, they're pre-1750s in many ways. Militarily, they're in the 1910s, at best.

Maybe things will change, but it's very likely they'll run into internal conflict and strife well before they become real challengers to existing Western powers. Achieving what the U.S. or other nations achieved half a century ago isn't impressive. Doing it with researchers, engineers and academics trained in the U.S. or other Western nations over that time period isn't very impressive, either.

Let's not kid ourselves. This sort of an achievement just isn't special these days. It was in the 1950s, but not now. It's really no different from how the database techniques of the 1960s aren't special today, nor are the programming language concepts from the 1960s and 1970s.

Ignoring China ? (5, Insightful)

Taco Cowboy (5327) | about 4 months ago | (#45699225)

The same goes for China. Industrially, they're getting to where the US was in the mid-1800s. Their space technology is in the 1950s, and early 1960s. Socially, they're pre-1750s in many ways. Militarily, they're in the 1910s, at best

I certainly hope that you are NOT an American.

If you are, please, I beseech you, please WAKE THE FUCK UP.

America is in a steep decline, and the rate of decline has quicken in the past 2 decades.

And America's decline is in stark contrast with the rapid growth of Brazil, India and China.

Re:Ignoring China ? (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45699351)

What you call the "rapid growth" of those nations is basically just them trying their best to catch up to where the West was many decades ago. They aren't even doing that particularly well. India is, and this is putting it politely, still an absolute shithole. Brazil is only marginally better, and China only marginally better than that.

Merely doing what Western nations accomplished 50, 100, or even many more years ago just isn't impressive. I'm sorry to say that, but it's the truth.

Any decline happening in America doesn't make growth in the countries that you mentioned any more impressive. In fact, much of the development in places like India, China, and Brazil is solely due to the involvement of American companies and American capital, or at best the educations that natives of those countries obtained at American universities. If it weren't for the involvement of American interests, they'd still be third-world nations.

Re:Ignoring China ? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45699443)

And if it weren't for the Nazi scientists, the US and Soviet space programs wouldn't have existed. The only mostly isolated nation is North Korea, and we know how that's working out for them (great, if you go by the Great Leader's and his buddies opinion).

Re:Ignoring China ? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45699619)

The only mostly isolated nation is North Korea, and we know how that's working out for them... great, if you go by the Great Leader's and his buddies opinion

He just executed his buddy, you insensitive clod.

Re:Ignoring China ? (5, Interesting)

Teancum (67324) | about 4 months ago | (#45699679)

And if it weren't for the Nazi scientists, the US and Soviet space programs wouldn't have existed. The only mostly isolated nation is North Korea, and we know how that's working out for them (great, if you go by the Great Leader's and his buddies opinion).

Obviously Robert Goddard was a Nazi scientist. And Dr. Buzz Aldrin never wrote any papers about spaceflight that by itself would ensure his role in the history of mankind (ignoring his weekend camping trip he took in the summer of 1969 that was broadcast as a reality TV show). And of course Konstantin Tsiolkovsky [wikipedia.org] and Sergei Korolyov [wikipedia.org] were just a bunch of stupid lab assistants who knew nothing about rocket science either.

This kind of stuff is pure BS. Yes, there were some German scientists who did some impressive things with rockets and their assistance was useful for perhaps pushing ahead the American and Russian space programs by about a decade or so in the 1950's. But to suggest that the programs wouldn't have existed at all is a bit of a stretch when it is patently clear there were plenty of both Russians and Americans who were active in trying to get spaceflight including manned spaceflight happening in their lifetimes. Werner Von Braun openly acknowledged both Goddard and Tsiolkovsky (together with Oberth.... who was never a Nazi either) by name in his autobiography as inspiration for his work.

Re:Ignoring China ? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45699911)

Hear, hear. "rapid growth" indeed. India? India is a third world hellhole, because of the PEOPLE who live there. America is declining because of tens of millions of NON-WHITES who are invading it and destroying it. But still, who needs facts when you've got 'political correctness' to peddle.

Taco Cowboy, you are a moron...

Re:Ignoring China ? (2)

gossamer thread (3464205) | about 4 months ago | (#45699455)

How right you are, IMHO. From where I sit, this great country has totally pissed away an amazing legacy through apathy, allowing ignorant backwater thinking to fill the vacuum. Can we come back from this?

It's not a matter if we "can" or not (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45699865)

This is Taco Cowboy. I'm accessing this site over a public connection so I log in as an AC.

Can we come back from this?

I'm afraid this is no longer a case of whether we CAN come back - it is about the LIFE or DEATH of America as we know it.

The decline is not going to leave its impact economically but also on the social fabric.

You gotta understand that the mixture of the social pool of America has drastically changed the past few decades, from a predominantly white populace to a minority white society.

It's not a purely "race" thing, but rather, it's the ATTITUDE thing.

I'm not a White guy. I'm a Chinese. But I need to stress that the PURITANISM culture of the White society that brought on the "caretaker of the land" attitude which translated to the "hard working" practices that many of the first White settlers had demonstrated.

America's foundation was built on blood, sweat and tears of those first settlers.

However, with the influx of many of other people, most of them, unfortunately, do not share that kind of attitude of hard work.

Most of the current crop of Americans, yes, including many of the descendants of the White settlers, do not see "hard work" as a necessity to attain success.

If America falls further behind in term of industrial might and knowledge power, there won't be enough bread left to feed those who don't want to work hard, and that will most probably see the beginning of the end of America.

Re:Ignoring China ? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45700057)

The same goes for China. Industrially, they're getting to where the US was in the mid-1800s. Their space technology is in the 1950s, and early 1960s. Socially, they're pre-1750s in many ways. Militarily, they're in the 1910s, at best

I certainly hope that you are NOT an American.

If you are, please, I beseech you, please WAKE THE FUCK UP.

America is in a steep decline, and the rate of decline has quicken in the past 2 decades.

And America's decline is in stark contrast with the rapid growth of Brazil, India and China.

Maybe you are the one who needs to "WAKE THE FUCK UP". People have been saying this for decades now but it has never been true. America's economy has grown significantly the past several decades both raw and per capita (source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:US_GDP_per_capita.PNG). Just because we had one recession a few years ago doesn't mean we are in decline. Brazil, India, and China? Sure, they are growing--good for them--but most of their population is stuck in abject poverty with no hope of getting out ever in our life time (Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Poverty_in_China, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Poverty_in_Brazil, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Poverty_in_India). The USA has by for the most powerful military with the best power projection capabilities (Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Military_budget_of_the_United_States) China, Brazil, and India, have zero power projection. The only countries with global military power projection are the USA, France, and Great Britain. Yes, that's right, France has more military power projection than China (Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Power_projection#Examples_of_power_projection).

This doesn't even account for the deep social problems faced in China, India, and Brazil.

Re:It's just like JavaScript or NoSQL. (5, Insightful)

bill_mcgonigle (4333) | about 4 months ago | (#45699989)

Their space technology is in the 1950s, and early 1960s.

China has over one million people working on their space program. They have so much cash that they've been buying US Treasury Bills despite their dubious value and have recently stopped being so silly. They're building a moon base in the next decade and will be landing men on Mars in the 2030's.

Buy lots of cheap stuff at Walmart - it's fueling humanity's journey to the starts.

Re:SO, does it look the same as it did in 1969? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45699727)

Unfortunately, a large percentage of Americans ARE backwater yokels. It is downright scary that young-Earth creationists, climate deniers, and their ilk can successfully be elected to positions to Congress in 2013.

Re:SO, does it look the same as it did in 1969? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45698937)

Actually, thanks to its thick atmosphere and harsh winds, the ever-changing lunar landscape makes for an outstanding subject. Bravo, China!

Re:SO, does it look the same as it did in 1969? (1)

Java Pimp (98454) | about 4 months ago | (#45699289)

Only if they used the same Hollywood set NASA used in 1969.

Re:SO, does it look the same as it did in 1969? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45699307)

And thanks to all of the collected dust, it wouldn't look disused, just Moony-er.

Reference, please? (1)

Lisias (447563) | about 4 months ago | (#45698871)

As far exerybody can thrust the submitter =P on the matter, giving us some links for references would not had hurt anyone. :-)

Are they claiming more territory? (5, Funny)

mc6809e (214243) | about 4 months ago | (#45698883)

I heard that the Sea of Tranquility is now the South China Sea of Tranquility.

Re:Are they claiming more territory? (1)

KingOfBLASH (620432) | about 4 months ago | (#45699129)

You jest but what do you think will happen globally if China starts planting flags and claiming the moon for their own personal use?

Re:Are they claiming more territory? (1)

SuperKendall (25149) | about 4 months ago | (#45699139)

First one do to so deserves to keep what they can keep a footing on, I'd say.

Re:Are they claiming more territory? (1)

Charliemopps (1157495) | about 4 months ago | (#45699895)

Which would be nothing once our government drops a rock on their camp site and calls it a meteor strike.

Re:Are they claiming more territory? (2)

Razalhague (1497249) | about 4 months ago | (#45699223)

Considering that China has signed and ratified the Outer Space Treaty [wikipedia.org] (which explicitly forbids any government from claiming a celestial resource such as the Moon or a planet), they'd probably get a few stern words and looks. On the other hand, if they actually manage to mine and transport something back, then there might be some mild repercussions.

Re:Are they claiming more territory? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45699537)

US: "China, stop mining the moon or we'll buy our consumer goods from other, more expensive countries, thus tripling our inflation rate."

Re:Are they claiming more territory? (4, Insightful)

Charliemopps (1157495) | about 4 months ago | (#45699933)

The treaty doesn't say anything about them not being able to mine the shit out of the moon. It just says they can't claim territory or place nukes in space (which you can be damned sure we've already breached) It also says the parties retain rights over whatever the launch into space, so should they start building mining platforms and shipping stuff back, we couldn't touch the equipment without breaching the treaty.

Re:Are they claiming more territory? (3, Informative)

Teancum (67324) | about 4 months ago | (#45700023)

Then again that treaty has language which states all any signatory country needs to do (including China) is to give a one year's notification that they are withdrawing from the treaty. They China (or America or Russia) can do whatever they want to do with no need to worry about a pesky treaty that might get in the way.

Besides, there is really no enforcement provision that stops any country from claiming sovereign territory other than it might be causus belli (a rationale for war) for other countries to step in and try to stop them. That likely would happen with or without the treaty anyway so it is mainly window dressing and nothing more on that point.

If there was some extra-terrestrial real estate that some country really wanted to claim, I think that one year notification rule would be plenty of time before anybody else could get to that same hunk of rock in the sky.

Re:Are they claiming more territory? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45699329)

Flags make for good propaganda, but they don't mean shit. If the Chinese or anyone else manages to build a base on the Moon, then, in practice, they have that portion of the Moon for themselves (so long as they don't claim the whole thing setting up a base is not a problem - it isn't like the Moon is already full of research bases anyway). With any luck the politicians of other nations would think that makes them look bad and approve a Moon base of their own. Realistically, they'd prefer to invest the money towards the murder of civilians in a far away country instead.

Re:Are they claiming more territory? (1)

Goody (23843) | about 4 months ago | (#45699777)

If China plants flags all the US needs to do is send a robot to the moon that finds flags and shreds them. Problem solved.

Re:Are they claiming more territory? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45699955)

They would have to proven ownership of it, It's all that real matters, if see someone run off with your TV it's theirs until someone else takes it from them. For example Iran tried to extend it's territorial waters, it was rebuked because they wouldn't engage UN forces to prove ownership of the new territory. Also, if you look at China Japan Island Dispute, it comes down to proving that you have control over the territory which comes down to showing an ability to force outsiders from freely entering and navigating the territory. I would say the same rule apply to the moon or anywhere else in the Universe.

I take this to mean that if someone puts a few "space cannons" up there and is able to rebuff, shoot down, or take control of any vessel without permission to enter, they would be the de facto owner's of the moon regardless of any UN rules or treates about moon ownership. Of course, they might face retaliation on earth but as long as they continue to meet the requirement the moon would be theirs.

Re:Are they claiming more territory? (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45699387)

The Sea of Tranquility has always been part of China.

Rocks (4, Interesting)

Dan East (318230) | about 4 months ago | (#45698969)

There are some rocks of significant size immediately behind the rover. Those are certainly large enough for the rover to get hung on or to flip it over on its side. I'm surprised the lander touched down within just a few feet of rocks like that. Either their hazard avoidance system looks only directly beneath the footprint of the lander, or it failed to properly detect those rocks. Had it landed just 50% closer to those rocks, the ramp the rover descended would have been right on them..

Re:Rocks (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45699059)

So your complaint is that the lander touched down at a safe distance from any hazards?

Have you ever driven along a road, and noticed just how close together the lanes are? Why do they build them so close together? If the lanes were 50% narrower, cars might smash into each other!

Re:Rocks (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45699075)

Last minute guidance to avoid unexpected rocks is a serious fuel issue, and a historical problem. Look into the unexpected last minute changes in Apollo 11's flight path. They had a serious "holy shit, not *there*" moment on final descent. Rejiggering the launch site for an unmanned craft, with several seconds round trip phase lag for course corrections from the ground control, is an even worse problem.

I'd say the Chinese wound up taking a chance, and it paid off spectacularly.

Re:Rocks (4, Interesting)

Raumkraut (518382) | about 4 months ago | (#45699167)

Rejiggering the launch site for an unmanned craft, with several seconds round trip phase lag for course corrections from the ground control, is an even worse problem.

Chiang'e 3 had a ~30 second "hovering" stage during its decent, during which it scanned the area it was over (using radar and laser IIRC), and itself made the decision where exactly to land based on that information.
AFAIK ground control could have interrupted and overridden the process at any stage, but did not.

Re:Rocks (1)

fractoid (1076465) | about 4 months ago | (#45699691)

In that case, (a) they probably picked this spot because the available space was within tolerance, and (b) well now, hovering around for 30 seconds before landing is just showing off. :P

Be careful... (4, Funny)

anyanka (1953414) | about 4 months ago | (#45699019)

They better be careful... We all remember what happened to the Tsien. Fortunately, this one is not manned...

Can you be a little bit more specific ? (1)

Taco Cowboy (5327) | about 4 months ago | (#45699173)

They better be careful... We all remember what happened to the Tsien. Fortunately, this one is not manned...

Can you kindly elaborate what you mean by " the Tsien " ?

I have been closely monitoring China for the past 40-odd years and never encountered any Chinese spaceship with any name that associated with "Tsien".

I'll be very appreciative if you can share with us the information that you have on "Tsien".

Thanks !!

Re: Can you be a little bit more specific ? (4, Informative)

skadacl (199126) | about 4 months ago | (#45699229)

Arthur C. Clarke... Space Oddyssey 2010. The chinese secretly constructed an interplanetary spacecraft in plan sight... saying it was a space station.

Thanks ! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45699729)

This is Taco Cowboy, I'm using a public connection so I log in as an AC.

Many thanks for the explanation from you and others!

Thanks again !

Re:Thanks ! (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45699763)

This is Taco Cowboy, I'm using a public connection so I log in as an AC.

Many thanks for the explanation from you and others!

Thanks again !

Thought you sounded different. :)

Re:Can you be a little bit more specific ? (2)

RDW (41497) | about 4 months ago | (#45699231)

You really need to pay more attention. The Tsien landed on Europa three years ago. Unfortunately there was technical problems and contact with the lander was lost.

Re:Can you be a little bit more specific ? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45699269)

It's a reference to 2010.

The Chinese sent a mission to get to the Discovery before the Russians/Americans and were killed by a creature on Europa. This was changed for the movie. The Chinese craft was called the Tsien.

Re:Can you be a little bit more specific ? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45699285)

Probably from here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_spacecraft_from_the_Space_Odyssey_series
>The Tsien was a fictional Chinese spacecraft - named after Chinese rocket engineer Tsien Hsue-shen - that was featured in the novel 2010: Odyssey Two, but did not appear in the film 2010.

Not the only thing in 40 years. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45699033)

Why do the photos also look like they are from the 70's?

FUCK YOU SLASHDOT (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45699039)

THIS NEW DESIGN IS DOGSHIT.

congratulations to russia (2)

elmer at web-axis (697307) | about 4 months ago | (#45699053)

Normally people buy flying toys from China and are happy to have them land without crashing. China brought a really big toy from Russia and was happy to not crash it. I think more congratulations should be directed to Russia than China. Russia has a thriving space program even if it is via proxy. Maybe America needs to take a page out of Russia's book and licence more tech to places like China to allow them to continue space exploration while America seems to lack the will. At least then if something does go wrong America could learn from it but be able to point fingers at China saying it was really their fault. Beta testing at it's finest.

Re:congratulations to russia (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45699113)

The problem is that the US ran out of ideas for space science once all their pet Nazis died.

assuming plutonium-238 is true (1)

rewindustry (3401253) | about 4 months ago | (#45699217)

how are they allowed to pollute the moon like that? do we simply assume humans will never go there, or is 238 some kind of magic vanishing form of radiation, that will not simply sit there and radiate, as nuclear waste tends to do? we can safely assume, i assume, that shielding was not included in the 120kg design, or am i wrong? have they some legitimate excuse for this, or should we simply assume "some sources" are wrong about the plutonium, in the first place?

Re:assuming plutonium-238 is true (5, Informative)

aXis100 (690904) | about 4 months ago | (#45699313)

The radioactives used in RTG's are usually alpha emmitters that can be sheilded very easily - thin sheet metal is enough, let alone the whole carrier assembly. It's gamma rays that are the problem and require several feet of lead to shield fully. Chosing the right isotopes with a favourable decay chain reduces or eliminates gamma ray production.

See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Radioisotope_thermoelectric_generator#Selection_of_isotopes [wikipedia.org]

Re:assuming plutonium-238 is true (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45699367)

On the moon I would be more worried about cosmic radiation...

Re:assuming plutonium-238 is true (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45699421)

I suggest you read up on radioisotope heating units, radioisotope thermoelectric generator, and the shielding requirements for Pu-238 before shitting your pants.

Spoiler: Pu-238 requires less than 2.5mm of lead shielding and in many RHU and RTG designs there is no need for shielding at all because the casing itself is adequate.

Re:assuming plutonium-238 is true (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45699489)

The Apollo program also left 5 RTGs on the moon and one in the Pacific. If we ever start make regular trips to the moon all these sites will be historical and the curators will know what to do with them.

Re:assuming plutonium-238 is true (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45699939)

How else are you going to keep General Tso's Chicken warm for the man in the moon? I wish my delivery guy had some of that shit.

Re:assuming plutonium-238 is true (4, Informative)

confused one (671304) | about 4 months ago | (#45699985)

1. It's necessary, without it the equipment freezes and gets destroyed during the 2 week "night". 2. It's an insignificant amount of radiation compared to what the Sun is doing to the surface of the Moon. 3. You're surrounded by naturally occurring radioactive materials, stop freaking out every time someone mentions the word "radiation", or starts talking about "uranium", "radon", "polonium", "cesium", or "plutonium". These are useful materials if correctly handled and applied. Need I remind you that bananas are a source of concentrated Potassium 40.

Jade Rabbit (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45699241)

has only just landed and the hoaxers are already out (they must have crawled out over the edge of their flat earths so they can feel they're still in the game).

Congratulations! (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45699245)

My congratulations to the scientists and engineers that made this mission work! A difficult job done well!

Fake (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45699403)

Clearly its fake and done in a giant hanger/stage.

But... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45699409)

I hear all the excuses for the last 40 years that is impossible to land on the moon.
Could only happen in the era of black and white TVs and Hollywood productions. 70s shows

Why such low quality? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45699411)

It astounds me that nobody here is questioning why the photos are such low quality. Why spend millions of renminbi on the mission, when they are using possibly the worst quality cameras I have seen in ten years? Why aren't they streaming back live HD video constantly? Do they not think tens of millions of people want to see it? Please - someone enlighten me. Look at the quality of the live footage Apollo was able to send back, with forty year old technology. You can now buy a HD CCD for about $2 or less, and obviously beaming back a digital signal would be easier than the analogue Apollo signal was, so why are we seeing laughably poor quality images, right at the start of the landing, when they should be trying to astound the public with never seen before high resolution video of the surface of the moon?

Re:Why such low quality? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45699497)

What low quality?

The photos in TFA don't look too bad. Keep in mind that the photos on the web site might be reduced resolution versions of the original. And perhaps your browser sucks on top of that.

Re:Why such low quality? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45699519)

These are the very first pictures transmitted. They visually confirm a successful rollout of the lander. Guessing that once all the components are given a full check for malfunctions, the photos; video will be smoother.

Nice job of getting there, looking forward to more. It's a good reason to be proud of China/ Russian and human technology.

Congrats to China (4, Insightful)

gman003 (1693318) | about 4 months ago | (#45699437)

Seriously, I'm glad somebody else is going into space. NASA seems to be doing well in deeper space - Mars rovers, missions far out into the solar system, and deep-space satellites - but we still have plenty to discover in our own backyard.

Even though the rocketry task has been done before (putting a rover on the moon) there's a hell of a lot of difference between a 1960's Soviet rover and a 2010's rover, so they're going to be uncovering plenty of new stuff.

Congrats! (2)

NetNinja (469346) | about 4 months ago | (#45699521)

Grats to China!

Please go take pictures of the U.S Rovers and launch pads so the sales of books and DVD's that the USA never landed on the moon make them look like the foolish people they are :)

Re:Congrats! (3, Funny)

0123456 (636235) | about 4 months ago | (#45700083)

Please go take pictures of the U.S Rovers and launch pads so the sales of books and DVD's that the USA never landed on the moon make them look like the foolish people they are :)

Except, as we all know, this so-called Chinese 'lunar' rover is actually just driving around a sound stage in Mongolia.

A lot of steps to get there.... (5, Insightful)

speedlaw (878924) | about 4 months ago | (#45699921)

You have to get out of orbit...you need to get to the moon....you need to get into lunar orbit and then land....successfully. Read the history of the Ranger Program to see how much work this took the US, and they were crashing onto the moon, not trying to land a working Rover. Getting the insertions correct is not easy. China has done something difficult and laudable. While I'm sure they had the full data from the US program, and the USSR program, making this happen is still a great achievement. I have noticed how the US media is paying little attention to this......
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