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Chinese Moon Base by 2012 - or 2006?

michael posted more than 11 years ago | from the moonraker dept.

Space 978

apsmith writes "Former congressman and House Science chairman Robert S. Walker has written some rather striking conclusions about Chinese intentions in space over the next few years, based on information received for the recent Commisison on the Future of Aerospace. Walker is convinced the Chinese are going all-out for a permanent settlement on the Moon within 10 years; apparently some closer to the situation in Japan think the first landing will be in only 3-4 years. Meanwhile the Economist says IT people are starting to focus on space as the next high-tech venue. Fortunately, despite NASA's neglect, we do have a few private missions to the Moon in the works."

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oui! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6075648)

ce premier poste est dedie a Denis Papin !

Wakeup call (-1, Redundant)

serps (517783) | more than 11 years ago | (#6075657)

Maybe this is the kick in the pants the US Government (through NASA) needs to make space colonisation a priority again.

Re:Wakeup call (3, Insightful)

JJahn (657100) | more than 11 years ago | (#6075665)

Or maybe they don't need to? I for one have no desire to live on the moon, or see the costs of getting there subsidized by my taxes.

People respond differently to kicks (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6075768)

Would this have anything to do with the US claiming 'Negation' of space [] for other countries?

Re:Wakeup call (1)

notque (636838) | more than 11 years ago | (#6075771)

I do not think you understand! Firaxis is God, and God says that if the Chinese, or any other civ colonises the moon we are destroyed!

Or if we get to 2025. Either way, no more us!

Good for them! (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6075659)

The russians never pulled this off, but maybe a communist red flag next to the stars and stripes might knock the Americans off their high horse, or at least, wake them up. The Chinese are also willing to accept loss of life in this pursuit, so it wouldn't suprise me if they had something going bt 2010.

I'd just be happy to see Homo Sapiens someplace other than Earth.

Re:Good for them! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6075799)

"I'd just be happy to see Homo Sapiens someplace other than Earth."

As soon as we have space colonies, there will be space wars. If we can't have peace on Earth where we live together, I don't see much hope for utopias in space.

Re:Good for them! (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6075836)

So what you are saying is that America should now be motivated to waste billions of dollars and hundreds of lives so that we can compete to put a community on the moon. I think I'd rather see my money wasted on something more useful. Like toothbrushes for the homeless.

Re:Good for them! (0, Flamebait)

b-baggins (610215) | more than 11 years ago | (#6075916)

China is a communist country that considers us their number one enemy.

I can guarantee you this lunar base won't be for pure bragging rights.

You may be worried about tootbrushes for the homeless. I'm worried about a lunar rock being dropped on New York from a mass driver.

Too late... (3, Funny)

cruppel (603595) | more than 11 years ago | (#6075662)

2001 has come and gone. Still , watch out for large black rectangular prisms once you start building.

Re:Too late... (2, Funny)

aflat362 (601039) | more than 11 years ago | (#6075754)

Slashdot in 2013:

The construction team of the US Patriot Moon settlement is reporting a disturbance in the magnetic field of the moon. Coming from the epicenter of the disturbance is loud, annoying string music. Excavation at the site is to begin immediately.

Re:Too late... -'s already been FOUND (1)

blakespot (213991) | more than 11 years ago | (#6075858)

They already found [] the moon monolith, FYI.


"Fortunately" ??? (5, Interesting)

mirko (198274) | more than 11 years ago | (#6075672)

Why should this be considered a problem if non-US people plan to get to the Moon ?
I thought this was like Antartic : a Free (as in... uh?) place.

Re:"Fortunately" ??? (5, Funny)

JJahn (657100) | more than 11 years ago | (#6075688)

You obviously missed the press release. The Moon now belongs completely to the US. Any enemy spacecraft approaching it will be shot down with missles launched from a secret base on the moons surface.

Re:"Fortunately" ??? (4, Funny)

Enry (630) | more than 11 years ago | (#6075830)

You mean a giant "laser".

Re:"Fortunately" ??? (5, Funny)

Draoi (99421) | more than 11 years ago | (#6075917)

All your base are belong to U.S??

Re:"Fortunately" ??? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6075725)

Free as in green cheese [] ...

Re:"Fortunately" ??? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6075756)


Remember the US is into Imperialism (culturally, politically and/or martially) big-time - don't worry, all nations go through it before they mature - it's not a great step to see them wanting to do the same in extra-terrestrial locations.

Gosh, free speech? Freedom to assemble (-1, Troll)

Adam Rightmann (609216) | more than 11 years ago | (#6075821)

freedom to live where you want, have as many kids as you want, worship who you want?

Maybe your idea of heaven in living in a communal farm, getting up at 5 am to feed the chickens and pigs, saving your yen for a tractor and hoping your state assigned marriage with be a happy one, but I want a little more freedom for my children.

Once the Red China occcupy the moon, they have the strategic highground and can tell America to piss up a rope or suffer orbital bombardment. Then they take over Taiwan, and then they start imposing Chinese Communism on the world.

Re:Gosh, free speech? Freedom to assemble (1)

inaeldi (623679) | more than 11 years ago | (#6075868)

I honestly can't tell if you're joking or not.

Re:Gosh, free speech? Freedom to assemble (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6075890)

Which makes it a fantastic troll.

If I had moderator points, it would've been for "funny", but hey, they took those away from me.

Re:Gosh, free speech? Freedom to assemble (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6075899)

Please, O Educated One on China, tell us how much "yen" a Chinese farmer has to save to buy a tractor. While you're at it, could you tell us how many samurai warriors the Chinese Army is cranking out these days?


Re:"Fortunately" ??? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6075862)

I don't think anybody has a problem with it being "non-us." If anything the US has been very open to working with other countries. If you remember two of the astronauts who died in the space shuttle were not American born. The problem is the idea of China, not known for its human-rights record, calling the moon its own.

Not everything has to be Anti-American.

Re:"Fortunately" ??? (1)

arvindn (542080) | more than 11 years ago | (#6075878)

You brought up an interesting point, but I don't think the submitter is being jingoistic here. Even though I'm not from the US, I agree with that viewpoint. What's unfortunate is not that other countries are getting to the moon, but that NASA did nothing all this while. Until now, one could have believed that more moon missions would really have been of no use, at least until technology and economics got much better. But with this spurt of interest from other countries (EU, Japan, China, India etc) that argument no longer holds: surely, they lag the US tech-wise but still think it's worthwhile getting to the moon? That must mean that the only reason for the inaction after the Appolo missions must have been the shortsighedness of US congressmen. And of course, it's good that private ventures are getting into the act, because they are likely to be more efficient in the long run.

why even bother? (2, Insightful)

garcia (6573) | more than 11 years ago | (#6075674)

mining materials from the moon is going to be more expensive than raiding Western Russia and mining in Siberia then shipping it back to China.

It's expensive to live there, to ship people there, and to experiment there (what to experiment on I will never know).

I can't see a financial justification to use it as a start point for Mars missions when there is nothing of use on Mars (even if there is water and "life").

Let's have our people suffer and wither away in the wastelands of undeveloped China and build a moon base!

Re:why even bother? (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6075718)

Why did America strive to reach the moon, but for the ability to claim that they alone had made it. It was heavy artillery in the silent war against the USSR. The same is true today. China is one of the great superpowers, and now it's trying to establish itself as THE superpower.

Re:why even bother? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6075795)

this isn't going to prove superiority. We know we can do it already it's just not economically viable.

Re:why even bother? (1)

d3ut3r0n (664760) | more than 11 years ago | (#6075910)

Erm, doesn't that sound paradoxical to you? Er, we can but we can't afford it... so, doesn't that make China better in this case if they can afford it?

Re:why even bother? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6075854)

China is not a superpower. To be a superpower you have to have a kickass millitary and have great influence in the world.

China does have a big millitary but aside from nukes I believe even the french could kick their asses.

China has a basic level of political influence just because they're a huge country, but nobody really cares about what the Chinese think in world affairs. China is pretty isolationist and barely participates in the UN(most always abstains in important votes).

Re:why even bother? (1, Funny)

bob_jordan (39836) | more than 11 years ago | (#6075770)

"I can't see a financial justification to use it as a start point for Mars missions"

Maybe a mars mission would be done for ideological reasons.

Maybe they want to make the red planet the, er, red planet.


Re:why even bother? (1)

Mr_Dyqik (156524) | more than 11 years ago | (#6075812)

I can hear the ghost of McCarthy (I guess he's dead, if not his ghost can time travel, OK?) now:

"Hey, let's ship all the commies to Mars. What do you mean we haven't got any bases there yet? What's that matter?"

Re:why even bother? (2, Insightful)

Malachi (5716) | more than 11 years ago | (#6075773)

IMO your thinking to in the box. Now to not get too far away from it, how much new technology would be worked on to get that trip more efficient? Or get people to live there better, or the side solutions a project like that would endeavour.

Any time humanity has had to reach we end up finding out that our ingenuity can extend to meet the challenge.

Personally in my lifetime I don't care if we get there or not, I think more exploratory missions should be encouraged, and regardless of the situation the american populous needs a project besides policeman. Space, humanitarian, introverted collective aid, something needs to captivate and encourage us to another level, every generation should have something to reach for.


National prestige (4, Insightful)

maddogsparky (202296) | more than 11 years ago | (#6075784)

The Chinese want to go for the same reason as the US--it shows the rest of the world what their country is capable of. Going to the moon might not seem to be such a big deal anymore to the average American, but you have to remember that the _only_ people to walk on the moon have been Americans.

To the rest of the world, this is just one more triumph of the United States that nobody else has caught up to after 35 YEARS! The second country to land on the moon would still look big in the eyes of the rest of the world, and more-so if they build a moon base (something not even the USA has done).

On a different note, I'm going back to school for aerospace engineering. When touring the department, I found that they are having record enrollment in both their graduate and undergraduate programs. Kinda make's one wonder how many of them (like me) are switching from the computer industry...

Re:why even bother? (1)

trikberg (621893) | more than 11 years ago | (#6075785)

I guess they are doing it mostly so they can say that they've done it and to prepare for a mission to Mars. But it could come in very handy if we find out that some huge lump of rock (the size of many, many VW beetles), is about to collide with earth and wipe out all life. At that point it can be very handy to have tried technology that can be used to establish a large base on the moon. Ok, the odds are miniscule, but it could happen tomorrow as well as thousands of years from now.

Re:why even bother? (1)

markov_chain (202465) | more than 11 years ago | (#6075826)

Raiding Western Russia would be pure suicide; it's in Europe. Let's hope they don't miss the Moon.

Re:why even bother? (3, Insightful)

joehoya (541611) | more than 11 years ago | (#6075913)

I, for one, am glad that previous generations of explorers, such as Columbus, Magellan, Lewis & Clark, etc. did not take this short-sighted point of view. It seems to me that history is full of exploration undertaken before any tangible results were expected. Many of these expeditions bore wildly successful results that were not even imagined before the journey was undertaken. Space is to us today what the oceans were in the 15th century.

Slant eyes infest galaxy (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6075680)

The yellow tide has been spreading across the earth for years. Now it seems the yellow tide has set its sights on the moon. With their exponential population growth, it is only a matter of time before they infest the galaxy.

Damn chinks are worse than rabbits.

Had to be said... (-1, Redundant)

coupland (160334) | more than 11 years ago | (#6075681)

I hope they succeed, but does this mean we should be expecting more orbital vehicle collisions?

Greyskull (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6075684)


cold war (1)

the_Bionic_lemming (446569) | more than 11 years ago | (#6075685)

Somehow, everytime I see "China is going to the moon" I keep thinking they are just going to use the same strategy against us that we did to the U.S.S.R.

I wonder if our economy "could" withstand another race.

Why did we steer away? (2, Interesting)

Malachi (5716) | more than 11 years ago | (#6075686)

Why did we stop going to the moon?

I touched it, I'm done.. .. huh?

I've seen countless reasons on why we should base to the moon but have never understood the reasoning for manning to mars before we've settled our closest orbiter.


Re:Why did we steer away? (1)

Mr.Phil (128836) | more than 11 years ago | (#6075831)

Why did we stop going to the moon?

I touched it, I'm done.. .. huh?

Because once we found out it wasn't made of Blue Cheese, what was the point of going back?

This is all part of the plan at NASA (4, Funny)

DailyGrind (456659) | more than 11 years ago | (#6075690)

a good Chinese restaurant on the moon will fix that little no-food or water problem and make NASA's job so much easier....

Re:This is all part of the plan at NASA (1)

aflat362 (601039) | more than 11 years ago | (#6075852)

or a nice Chineese massage parlor for Moon-Men would do the trick

Re:This is all part of the plan at NASA (1)

Imperator (17614) | more than 11 years ago | (#6075881)

But with the distance he had to travel, the delivery boy will expect a good tip...

Let's Help Them Out (4, Interesting)

moehoward (668736) | more than 11 years ago | (#6075692)

I think this is great. Yes, I have the typical reservations many will have here (human rights, poverty in China, etc.). However, I support this 100%.

I really think space is not something that should be done alone by a nation, though. I think we should see how we can help or team up with China in some way. It could be the common bond that finally helps us get over this mini-me cold war that we have going on with them.

Space exploration should no longer exist as a competitive sport. Write your representatives and let them know that you support US cooperation with China in space.

Re:Let's Help Them Out (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6075763)

no thanks, I support MORE money in my pocket, $300/paycheck is more than 1/3 of what I get paid.

Good! (4, Interesting)

kalimar (42718) | more than 11 years ago | (#6075693)

Regardless of whether it's 3 years or 10 years, this will be good. One of two things will happen:
  1. The US space program will get a kick in pants (again) to get more manned missions out into the solar system.
  2. The Chinese will fail

Personally, I'm hoping that only #1 will happen. Competition is good. See what's happened since we lost an 'opponent' in the space race? We've grown complacent. Having another space will be good for just about everything (national pride, the tech sector, the economy in general, innovation, etc).

The man in the moon (0)

revery (456516) | more than 11 years ago | (#6075694)

is Chinese???


All your space is belong to us...
Someone set up us the moon?

Is SARS from earth? (-1, Offtopic)

kimsh (203310) | more than 11 years ago | (#6075699)

Newsflash - marsian [] scientist claims SARS might come from space.

Still faster.. (2, Funny)

grub (11606) | more than 11 years ago | (#6075701)

I could order food from their moonbase and it will still get to my house on earth faster than from the restaurant down the street.

Awesome! (2, Interesting)

jridley (9305) | more than 11 years ago | (#6075703)

I don't care who goes to the moon, as long as someone does. People actually love this kind of stuff, but they're easily distracted. Having a human presence on the moon might get enough people interested again to kickstart the industry.

Long Term Plan? (3, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6075708)

It is said that the Chinese take the long view of things. Perhaps it is true. Anyway, they still have an authoritarian govt, and as such probably still want to conquer the world. A moon base might let them try it -- recall Heinlein's "The Moon is a Harsh Mistress", and how "interesting" (per ancient Chinese curse) it might be to be able to throw rocks that can cause as much damage as A-bomb explosions, without the leftover radioactivity.

The Moon Is A Harsh Mistress (5, Interesting)

kulakovich (580584) | more than 11 years ago | (#6075719)

Anyone not familiar with this Heinlein tome, and who has an interest in the next century should read it.

Whoever has the moon, has the Earth. If anyone is thinking of entering an expansionist phase, it would behoove them to set up shop there. They are at the top of the gravity well, we're at the bottom.

I am sure there are /.ers just waiting to rebuke this claim, knock yourselves out. Democracy cannot fight gravity, nor stop a 1/2km bolder travelling at Mach 33 coming down through the atmosphere.

I like to maintain a positive outlook, but that is much easier with hindsight rather than foresight.


ps - I didn't have anyone in mind when I mentioned entering an expansionist era - if you associated the remark with any particular geopolitical entity, that was your own doing!

Re:The Moon Is A Harsh Mistress (1)

bartlog (154332) | more than 11 years ago | (#6075817)

I read the book. I liked it. But:
- we have yet to build a magnetic rail launcher of anything like the capabilities described in the book here on Earth, let alone the moon, and
- we still have Mutual Assured Destruction. You may not like the doctrine, but in the end it means that even if the Chinese will soon have a novel way to annihilate us from their moon base, the balance of power remains the same.

South Park (1)

SL33Z3 (104748) | more than 11 years ago | (#6075720)

Does this remind anyone of a south park episode?

Why Not? (1)

Viceice (462967) | more than 11 years ago | (#6075722)

We could have done that the technology we had 40 years ago.

Lookign at teh brighter side, it'll at least put the heat on NASA again. Seeing as how teh Space Program went downhill with teh fall of the USSR, not we have another comunist nation to go up against.

We can't let those Reds win now can we? (No offence to China)

Re:Why Not? (1)

WPIDalamar (122110) | more than 11 years ago | (#6075804)

We may have been able... but we weren't willing! Is our only chance for space expoloration countries who think they have to prove something to the rest of the world?

Go China!

teh (1)

meadowsp (54223) | more than 11 years ago | (#6075870)

Learn to spell a three letter word you moron, it's THE.

Orbital Tech Stations (1)

SkArcher (676201) | more than 11 years ago | (#6075723)

I have to say I am attracted to the idea of an Orbital facility based upon (and hopefully governed by) high tech and ethical principles.

The idea of 'data haven' facilities is also one with which any reader of SF/Cyberpunk will be familiar, and one that could be very profitable.

The question of funding is of course the major sticking point.

Jackie Chan (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6075728)

Great! This means "Rush Hour IX" with Chris Tucker and Jackie Chan, with low-gravity slow-mo hijinks involving drug smugglers on the moon.

Will a Sino-Lunar base be our Sputnik? (-1, Interesting)

Adam Rightmann (609216) | more than 11 years ago | (#6075734)

Will a Sino-Lunar base be our generation's Sputnik? Will this be the alarm clock that waken's America's resolve, and will it ring too late?

Most of the younger /.'ers may not know of Sputnik, but it was a terrifying incident in America's history. While America was recovering from defeating Germany and Japan in WWII and taking a well earned rest, the Russian were forcing their captured German rocket scientists to recreate their work at Peenemunde and make a rocket large enough to put a satellite into orbit, this satellite was Sputnik.

The danger here was that any rocket large enough enough to loft a sattelite was also large enough to place an H-bomb (created with stolen American designs) right in Central Park, or the Pentagon. No longer could America depend on it's flyboys to protect itself against the Red Menace. Russia held a cocked and loaded nuclear pistol to the Free World's head.

Once any schoolboy with a Tandy radio kit could listen to the Commie Sputnik satellite circling the Earth, the need was clear. If America was going to regain the lead in the space race and keep the world free of the Communist menace, we must buckle down. Science became trendy, academics became more important, the nerdier geekier sort who inhabit /. became the new saviours of America. The 1950s and 1960s were the golden age of the American engineer.

And it paid off, America was the only country to put a man on the moon.

But now, the Red Chinese are racing to have the first permanent Moonbase, and if you don't know how dire that is, reread Heinlein's "The Moon is A Harsh Mistress". Do we want to live in a world that's under the constant menace of Commie rocks from the Moon, cracking down on our religion, way of life and democracy? Do you want to live ina world where you can have only one child, and have to worship Confucius? Do you want to have you one child taken away to a creche, and be forced to live on a communal farm? Maybe this can spur more people into the hard sciences, and fewer into business and law.

Re:Will a Sino-Lunar base be our Sputnik? (1)

SkArcher (676201) | more than 11 years ago | (#6075809)

The Moon is also at the bottom of a Gravity Well, you could use an orbital based mass driver against both Terra and Luna - plus, there is plenty of raw ammunition just floating around the SolSys in the form of asteroids to do the job.

On a happier (and less paranoid) note, I don't suppose there might just be a chance for overall Human co-operation on getting us all into space would there? No? Too much to ask I supose.

Re:Will a Sino-Lunar base be our Sputnik? (1)

Eminence (225397) | more than 11 years ago | (#6075857)

Science became trendy, academics became more important, the nerdier geekier sort who inhabit /. became the new saviours of America.

BTW - it was no incident, for example more funds were spent on teaching maths in colleges and on science education in general.

Re:Will a Sino-Lunar base be our Sputnik? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6075900)

Are you related to McCarthy by any chance?

Re:Will a Sino-Lunar base be our Sputnik? (1)

Timesprout (579035) | more than 11 years ago | (#6075909)

Do you want to live in a world where a single nation can ignore the global community because their army is so strong they dont have to care , accuse nations of perfidity but provide no proof, launch premptive military strikes as a means of achieving political agenda, subjugate nations by force under the guise of liberty?

I'm sure we all feel so much safer with the USA up there pulling the string than those nasty evil Chinese.

Re:Will a Sino-Lunar base be our Sputnik? (2, Insightful)

Bendy Chief (633679) | more than 11 years ago | (#6075923)

China learned its lesson about communal farming after the Great Leap Forward turned into the Great Leap into a Pile of Dead People. 30 million dead from famine, if I remember correctly. Chairman Mao believed that by planting crops three times closer, you'd get three times the yield for your land.

I disagree with many, many aspects of modern Chinese life, but there are some factual errors in your post that need correcting.

Where to put them (2, Funny)

Tighe_L (642122) | more than 11 years ago | (#6075739)

I think china needs the moon to some of their billions of people!

Good! Why do 'we' always have to be first? (4, Insightful)

Wonderkid (541329) | more than 11 years ago | (#6075740)

While competition is good fun when it comes to sport, it is about time the West, in particular the USA stopped believing that every time another entity tries to do something newer, bigger or better that such a step is looked upon as a threat. China has never attacked a Western nation and is trying to open up - in particular since SARS. So, we should be supporting and encouraging them. We have worked pretty well with the Russians, that has paid off with their help since Columbia. So we have learned that if you corner the fox he will bite, but if you pamper him he will lick.

Re:Good! Why do 'we' always have to be first? (1)

mgs1000 (583340) | more than 11 years ago | (#6075790)

China has never attacked a Western nation

Do you remember the Korean War?

Re:Good! Why do 'we' always have to be first? (5, Informative)

Mr.Phil (128836) | more than 11 years ago | (#6075874)

But, that was Korea, not China! Otherwise it would be the Chinese War. *sigh*

It's amazing what people don't know about history isn't it. If the person that posted the parent to this thread wants to actually learn something about the Korean War and China's involvment in attacking a Western Power, this is a very good FAQ on the subject. []

Re:Good! Why do 'we' always have to be first? (1)

Wonderkid (541329) | more than 11 years ago | (#6075883)

No. I was born in 1963. And it has been known for the West to provoke. I don't think China plans to take over the world using any other method other than offshore sexual reproduction. Attack of the babies! Maybe that's why they are going to the moon? To make moon babies? The term Moonies will have a whole knew mooning. Ouch.

Christ, I learned this lesson in grade school... (1)

FatSean (18753) | more than 11 years ago | (#6075927)

Why not? When you're on top, everything is looked upon as a threat. I'm quite sure if China was in the position the US is, they would see it the same way.

No problem (2, Funny)

arvindn (542080) | more than 11 years ago | (#6075742)

The reds are going for a permanent settlement on the moon? No problem. Reagan had it all worked out years ago. [] ;^)

But... (1)

Kshu (608394) | more than 11 years ago | (#6075745)

If someone doesn't do something about that S.A.R.S thing in the next 10 years, I don't think there will be any chinese left to go to the moon. Or elseware for thet matter.

Oh No! Nuke Them! (4, Funny)

notque (636838) | more than 11 years ago | (#6075747)

If life is like civilization, as soon as the Chinese make it, our entire society will crumble!

Since we have about 4 Future Technologies already, I beileve we should launch a full scale attack on China, take our scientific research down to 0% to collect as much gold as possible, and start building our own.

While we are at it, we probably shouldn't ask for a UN vote, we will surely fail, and lose there too.

What would be America's best way to win? We've already secured some oil resources, we need to build a harbor!

No surprise (4, Interesting)

Jah-Wren Ryel (80510) | more than 11 years ago | (#6075761)

Almost anyone who is a technophile was weaned on stories of colonies on the moon and mars by the new millenium. NASA, for better or for worse, never fullfilled those dreams. But now that some of those technophiles are all grown up and have a billion and a half dollars, it only makes sense that they would start to use their new-found power to realize the dreams of their youth.

As a fellow dreamer, I can't think of a better outcome to the dotcom-dotbomb cycle than the kick-off of a vibrant commercial space industry. (Well, maybe the immediate cessation of world poverty and the industrial destruction of the environment. But the chances of that happening even with a couple of motivated dotcom dreamers at the helm, are probably close to nil. At least space doesn't have too much in the way of entrenched powers that prefer the status quo.)

Moon bases are not allowed (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6075766)

NASA stopped going to the moon because they were told to get off by the visiting races from somewhere else. I don't think the Chinese have idea what they're up against.

Why do you think the US gov is pushing so hard for SDI (Star Wars) technology? There isn't anyone with balistic nukes to worry about that much any more... They want to "protect" themselves against those who are not deemed worthy enough to discuss openly. If you can't read between the lines then I'll use the outdated term for you: UFOs

Govt Paranoia (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6075769)

As we saw when the Europeans started work on their own GPS rival, the US Govt get quite tetchy when they see possible weakening of their influence in space.

If China do press ahead with this plan, we should expect tantrums from the US.

Better the Chinese than nobody. (4, Insightful)

Tackhead (54550) | more than 11 years ago | (#6075779)

As a Westerner, I'd prefer that the first lunar colony be American.

As a Westerner who sadly recognizes the fact that his society has abandoned space exploration and colonization, I'm more than happy for the Chinese lunar colonists. At least some members of homo sapiens will get to leave the rock.

But as a Westerner who's read Heinlein, I'm pretty sure that sooner or later, those guys are going to end up more free and more happy than their government could ever imagine possible, even in its worst nightmares.

You go, Chinese guys. More power to ya.

Heinlein was a starry-eyed optimist to think it could ever happen on Earth, but he had a valid point on Luna - any resource-rich, low-population, but otherwise harsh environment practically necessitates the development of certain cultural norms.

Other older articles (3, Informative)

KingPrad (518495) | more than 11 years ago | (#6075789)

At the website for Space Policy Digest (now defunct) there are archived articles on the Chinese space programs. The site is here:

One of the most interesting is: "Let's Challenge China to a Space Race"

But there are a ton of others, all very well written on many aspects of the space program's flaws, successes, interaction with congress, other countries' programs, etc.

If you believe in that sort of thing... (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6075794)

Doesn't this whole conversation presuppose that someone has actually been to the moon in the first place? ;)

In all seriousness though, just think about how cheaply they could produce kung fu movies in space w/o having to spend all that extra money on wires and CGI for the Shaolin flying kicks and jumps! Err... that's reason enough to try isn't it?

idiots (1, Funny)

ReLik (599554) | more than 11 years ago | (#6075802)

i just find it funny that you're all going on about how bad china is, can`t feed its own people etc. when america has the highest rate of people below the poverty line in the world, yet spending billions on something as stupid as space is ok? maybe we should all fix up our own planet before trashing things external to it

Re:idiots (1)

Vengeance (46019) | more than 11 years ago | (#6075819)

LOL! That's because in the US the poverty line is something like fifteen thousand dollars a year! There are plenty of places where you could live VERY well on that kind of scratch.

Somehow, no matter what you or anyone says about our 'rate of poverty', I'd rather be here than Somalia, y'know?

Re:idiots (1)

ReLik (599554) | more than 11 years ago | (#6075911)

i think you'll find that the poverty line is decided internationally when comparing countries to eachother. otherwise mongolia could claim to have 0 people under the poverty line.

IT? Misleading (1)

praxis (19962) | more than 11 years ago | (#6075813)

The comment about IT people gearing up for space as the next market was misleading. I don't consider engineering rockets to be information technology. I was expecting orbiting routers, server, and stuff.


Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6075816)

Wee.... another article about a "evil country" and almost every american /. reader starts pulling threats like "They should abandon all nuclear weapons. They should stop to exist. They should become american." out of his ass.

America, stop being so pathetic!

Great! (1)

Eminence (225397) | more than 11 years ago | (#6075818)

Although I doubt that they would be really able to do it in that time I think this is great for humanity as a whole because it's revival of the Space Race! Competition - it's the only thing that can make Americans support space exploration again and - who knows - maybe NASA can be again changed into dynamic and dedicated agency it once was? The possibility of China being the only real space power would mean that tax dollars would go this way and we will be flying into space again.

(Probably in armed spaceships, but that's the way humans behave...)

Predictions of replies (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6075823)

I predict many replies to this post will be from people with inferiority complexes, including:

Jokes about SARS
Communism references
How we have to "beat 'em to it"
How they will fail or NASA will do it first

Pretty much sums up everything that is wrong with this planet and its self-imposed drunk policeman..

Re:Predictions of replies (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6075845)

More reason to get off it and go to Mars, then!

Settle It Once and For All (1)

WC as Kato (675505) | more than 11 years ago | (#6075824)

This will finally put to rest the fake moon landing theory/conspiracy.

Or will this be a fake moon base filmed in the deserts of China behind the Great Wall!?

NASA's new motto will undoubtedly be (1, Funny)

Bombula (670389) | more than 11 years ago | (#6075832)

All your base are belong to us.

That's Insulting... (-1, Troll)

krystal_blade (188089) | more than 11 years ago | (#6075840)

There's no way I can support the Chinese mooning people. Traditionally speaking, it's damn near an American sport. On top of that, I don't want to see some welterweight chinese punk doing his best impression of a "pressed Ham on Glass".

They will fail if they try in this endeavor. They will never be able to moon people as well as we Americans can. It's an evolving trend, and we are on the leading edge with our "Fruit Basket" technology.


All About New Technology (3, Insightful)

borkus (179118) | more than 11 years ago | (#6075867)

One of the benefits of the Apollo program wasn't just the science done on the moon, but all of the technological innovations that had to be made in order for it to happen. Sure some of those innovations are relatively mundane (like Tempurpedic Mattresses). However, it also helps you build a huge amount of expertise in aerospace and electronics - industries that would help China both commercially and miliatarily.

Someone has to say it (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6075872)

1. Build a base on the moon
2. ???
3. ???
4. ???
5. profit!

Seriously, a moonbase is really tough to justify right now. There are all the enlightened arguments about science etc. but wouldn't it be much nicer if we first developed life support and automated mining/manufacturing technologies here on Earth, and then went up once it becomes economical to do so? We would even do more science that way in the long run.

Guys, perspective!! (4, Insightful)

Markvs (17298) | more than 11 years ago | (#6075877)

This is a nation which still hasn't launched a person into space, let alone have the capacity to go to the moon soon. At the time of the Apollo missions, the US was spending 1% ( of the GNP on NASA. The Soviets were probably spending about the same amount of dough. That's was 6 billion in 1967 dollars, or about 32 billion dollars today. Can China afford this? I'm dubious, especially given the current world economy.

Tack on the expenses both nations had (US with Mercury & Gemini, USSR with the various Vostok missions), and the experience China will have to gain... I'd wager on a 2012 landing and 2020 at best for a permanent base. It will take many heavy-lifting flights to get stuff to the moon, and just one disaster to set back the whole timeframe.

Further, the natural Chinese economic advantage (lots of cheap labor), is of little value in the aerospace realm. Sure, you can have folks using picks and shovels on a dam along side modern construction equipment. But on a Saturn V/N-1 type rocket? Not likely.

Can they do it? Sure. So could ESA, Japan and probably a half dozen other nations like Australia, Brazil or India. Will they? Probably, they want the bragging rights. But by 2006? No way.

As usual, we do it first .. (0, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6075888)

Then leave it for those guys to mass produce it.

Our space progress in a year... (1)

khcm8jw (664362) | more than 11 years ago | (#6075892)

goes from Solar electric propulsion (16 month transfer)to "ISS assembly; ion-engine transfer" (30 - 45 days transfer).

So not only do we have to build the ISS, we also need to work out how build an Ion-engine too...

Thats a hell of a lot of progress,
/me looks forwards to day trips on the moon when I'm old and grey.

My internet connection is borked at the moment,
else I would provide google links.

Neglect? (1)

dynayellow (106690) | more than 11 years ago | (#6075894)

It's hardly fair to blame NASA for "neglect." The nation was obsessed with a moon landing because we wanted to beat the Commies up there!

Despite a relatively large ad campaign back in the 80s, I think (celebs explaining the technology that had come out of space research), most people still don't get why we're sending scientific missions up there.

In closing, I'd like to say "flag on the moon... how did it get there?"

I can hear Huey's and Caesar's Grandpa now.... (-1, Redundant)

LittleGuy (267282) | more than 11 years ago | (#6075903)

"Lookit here! The moon done got the SARS now!"
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