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China Plans Deep Impact Mission

Zonk posted more than 9 years ago | from the sequels-are-great dept.

Space 286

Comatose51 writes "China is planning its own Deep Impact mission. The goal of the mission, unlike the exploratory NASA project, is to push potential life-ending comets or asteroids away from a collision course with the earth." From the article: " The third nation to launch a man into space has lofty space ambitions that include putting two astronauts into orbit this September and eventually sending up a space station and even a manned mission to the moon."

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Oh, they saw that movie too... (4, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#13018333)

Alternatively:
The goal of the mission, unlike the exploratory NASA project, is to push potential life-ending comets or asteroids away from a collision course with China and divert them toward Mongolia.

haha nothing for me to see eh (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#13018335)

looks like im seeing somthing right

China is being very ambitious (4, Informative)

DanielMarkham (765899) | more than 9 years ago | (#13018337)

In addition to the comet mission, they are going to build their fourth space launch center [reuters.co.uk] , and they've also announced plans to militarize their space program [chinadaily.com.cn] .
I wonder, when they finally land someone on the moon, will they say "We came in peace for all mankind"?

New Star Trek Film Planned by Fans [whattofix.com]

Re:China is being very ambitious (4, Insightful)

venicebeach (702856) | more than 9 years ago | (#13018377)

Well they are certainly talking ambitiously. But I'll believe it when I see it... From the article:

"Actually, our country has its own Deep Impact plans, it's just we've never revealed them to the public before," the Beijing News quoted Chinese astronomer Zhao Haibin as saying.

In other words, oh yes, we were planning to do that the whole time...but of course -

China still had to overcome technical obstacles before it could send a comet collider into space, Xinhua news agency quoted Huang Chunping, the lead engineer behind sending China's first man into space in '03, as saying

This is the Xinhua News Agency [wikipedia.org] which according to wikipedia "reports directly to the Communist Party's Propoganda Department".

Re:China is being very ambitious (1)

slughead (592713) | more than 9 years ago | (#13018530)

This is the Xinhua News Agency which according to wikipedia "reports directly to the Communist Party's Propoganda Department".

I for one trust state-controlled media. Nothing false ever came out of Pravda, right?

Re:China is being very ambitious (1)

Zeinfeld (263942) | more than 9 years ago | (#13018582)

I for one trust state-controlled media. Nothing false ever came out of Pravda, right?

Did Pravda ever have pictorials of Britney Spears pregnant?

Xinhua is a supermarket tabloid.

Now would The Examiner be more or less accurate if run by the State?

Thanks a lot... (1)

Sensible Clod (771142) | more than 9 years ago | (#13018600)

I couldn't even figure out how to mod that. Great job.

Re:China is being very ambitious (1)

cortana (588495) | more than 9 years ago | (#13018670)

"Did Pravda ever have pictorials of Britney Spears pregnant?"
Probably at some point [somethingawful.com] ...
  • Soviet Army fought UFOs
  • Russians conquered Mars 30 years ago
  • Jesus Christ born in Ukraine
  • Israel opens gates of Hell
  • Russia and Iran join efforts to struggle against invasion of UFOs

Re:China is being very ambitious (1)

smokin_juan (469699) | more than 9 years ago | (#13018609)

Yes, and nothing useful ever came from media clandestinely ran by the government.

I present exhibit A) Media government collusion [kuro5hin.org]

Re:China is being very ambitious (3, Funny)

Burning1 (204959) | more than 9 years ago | (#13018658)

Why wouldn't they have plans?

People are always asking themselves "what if." The US military has plans for full scale thermo-nuclear war with canada. I have plans to teleport into strange women's bedrooms. Scientists especially tend to plan things out, even if they aren't likely.

We're all waiting on impetus and technology.

Re:China is being very ambitious (4, Insightful)

Aardpig (622459) | more than 9 years ago | (#13018445)

and they've also announced plans to militarize their space program.

What, like the USA did years ago?

Re:China is being very ambitious (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#13018509)

We can thank Bill Clinton's administration for selling our missile tech to China!!!

Re:China is being very ambitious (1)

kai.chan (795863) | more than 9 years ago | (#13018518)

"I wonder, when they finally land someone on the moon, will they say "We came in peace for all mankind"?"

Surely, you have heard of the Star Wars Program, right?

Re:China is being very ambitious (2, Funny)

Bimo_Dude (178966) | more than 9 years ago | (#13018595)

I wonder, when they finally land someone on the moon, will they say "We came in peace for all mankind"?

Nope. They will say, "All your moonbase are belong to us." :)

Asteroid defense after all... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#13018338)

Happy Friday!

Dubya (0, Troll)

Fantasy Football (886971) | more than 9 years ago | (#13018341)

Can we LAUNCH George Bush into space? Please?

Re:Dubya (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#13018601)

Actually, you'd be doing us all a favor if you'd launch tards who like to hijack Slashdot threads to make inane, unnecessary, and idiotic political comments that have absolutely nothing to do with the story in an attempt to make themselves feel empowered that they can make such bold and brazen statements as though people really care about their mindless rants!

Enjoy your trip.

Idiot troll.

What about sound? (2, Funny)

Krankheit (830769) | more than 9 years ago | (#13018342)

NASA had visual, but I am hoping China can one-up NASA and put a microphone onboard so we can hear the exciting sounds of a space collision. Did George Lucas do this?

Re:What about sound? (4, Funny)

MyLongNickName (822545) | more than 9 years ago | (#13018409)

I, for one, think they should attach a giant nose so they can smell it too.

In a vaccum, both should be equally useful.

Re:What about sound? (1)

Mr2001 (90979) | more than 9 years ago | (#13018472)

Why bother? We already have the smell-o-scope.

Re:What about sound? (1)

mgs1000 (583340) | more than 9 years ago | (#13018535)

That won't be invented for another thousand years!

Re:What about sound? (1)

LurkerXXX (667952) | more than 9 years ago | (#13018464)

At 22,000 miles per hour, do you think you would have had time to hear anything at all before the microphone was vaporized?

Re:What about sound? (1)

Craig_P92669 (875776) | more than 9 years ago | (#13018663)

They will use a boom mic on the orbiter! Duh!

Re:What about sound? (1)

NanoGator (522640) | more than 9 years ago | (#13018653)

"NASA had visual, but I am hoping China can one-up NASA and put a microphone onboard so we can hear the exciting sounds of a space collision. Did George Lucas do this?"

Erm. Nearly every single movie or tv show that had a sequence in space has sound. Why's Lucas the scapegoat? I realize the prequels sucked, but geez. The worst part is, it's a really stupid thing to nitpick. Those sequences don't say there's sound in space any more than they say an orchestra follows the characters around and plays appropriate music.

What Goes Around (0, Flamebait)

Doc Ruby (173196) | more than 9 years ago | (#13018348)

With 2B people to feed, China has much more pressing issues that saving the Earth from comets. And messing with cometary orbits is too risky for even space programs with decades of cautious experience.

This project is a cover for military operations in space. Maybe they're researching how to divert a planetoid into the Earth, potentially more powerful than any nuclear weapon. Maybe they're just launching weapons into Earth or Solar orbit.

These operations are exactly why the US should have led for banning all space weapons when we had the unchallenged political, economic, technological and military status in the 1990s. Instead we've funded unworkable Star Wars missile defense systems for billions of dollars, opening the door for every other country that wants to knock out Jesse James to be the #1 gunfighter in the East and West.

Re:What Goes Around (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#13018366)

China has much more pressing issues than [space exploration] This project is a cover for military operations in space.

So, uh... what stops the rest of the world from applying this same logic to absolutely anything and everything NASA does?

America has fewer truly hungry people than China, therefore their space development aims are benign rather than secretly evil?

Re:What Goes Around (0, Flamebait)

Doc Ruby (173196) | more than 9 years ago | (#13018410)

No, nothing stops them. That's the point. If the US had a space nonproliferation treaty, and ongoing international regime for enforcement, the US wouldn't now be weaponizing space, either. Or at least would be much less likely.

Now, US space weapons are less of a global threat than Chinese. For one, the current US Bush regime is something of an abberation - even next year's Congressional elections can stop its murderous rampage.

But China's military advantage will set a much more dangerous regime to threaten global security. It's mafia government has been nothing but criminal for many generations - its few legitimate phases have been the abberations, some would say for millennia. And it's got much higher demands for global resources. When 2B Chinese people can each be as wasteful a consumer as 250M Americans have been for a century, the world will be sucked dry. With enough military power, that will very likely happen.

Re:What Goes Around (1)

a whoabot (706122) | more than 9 years ago | (#13018388)

"Maybe they're researching how to divert a planetoid into the Earth, potentially more powerful than any nuclear weapon."

This was the first thing I thought when I read the first post in this discussion joking about diversion into Mongolia.

Think of the advantage of being able to cause inflictions of "natural" disasters on your competitors/enemies.

I'd imagine it would be very much in the reach of any monied country with the will to do it.

Re:What Goes Around (1)

Doc Ruby (173196) | more than 9 years ago | (#13018441)

The kinds of things people are now capable of, technologically, economically and ethically, represent terminal threats to the possibility of peace, and even our species existence. In a vacuum of responses to these threats, we are doomed. Which is why the current vogue in the US of subverting even the minimal mitigations, like the US, other international law, and human rights treaty regimes, is lethally irresponsible.

Re:What Goes Around (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#13018391)

last time I checked, it was 1.3 billion. where did you get the additional 700 million from?

Re:What Goes Around (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#13018461)

last time I checked, it was 1.3 billion
Yeah, like 5 minutes ago, by the time I post this it will be up to 2 billion.

Re:What Goes Around (1)

Doc Ruby (173196) | more than 9 years ago | (#13018468)

It's been over 1.2B for a generation. They're lying about the official figures so they won't have to spend extra money on them. Unless you "checked" door to door.

Re:What Goes Around (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#13018479)

How the fuck did you manage to get a karma bonus? Even /. moderatino peculiarities don't account for your crackpottery being worth a second glance.

Re:What Goes Around (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#13018635)

wow, what an insightful post. its because you're a mindless microsoft-hating idiot that the first thing i do when i get mod points is browse over to slashdot.org/~doc%20ruby and randomly mod down the crap you post. pull the penguin out of your ass for a second and think before you click submit.

Actually... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#13018447)

A lot of innovations came from the missle defense research, but many remain classified. Also, keep in mind, the projects were seriously underfunded from the getgo, recieving fractions of what was requested.

Now though, the US has stepped into another cold war. We'll be pushing forward on these types of things, very soon.

Re:Actually... (1)

Doc Ruby (173196) | more than 9 years ago | (#13018490)

We should have just funded the innovations. It would have been cheaper, more productive, and less threatening to security. And we would have one less reason to distrust the government which lies to us when it says it's not weaponizing space, and when it says that the Star Wars missile defense weapons work.

The last Cold War was so profitable for so long that the people running the US have created another one. The last one sucked. This one will be worse.

Re:Actually... (1)

Bimo_Dude (178966) | more than 9 years ago | (#13018567)

and when it says that the Star Wars missile defense weapons work.

Because we know that they do [csmonitor.com] . /Sarcasm

Really, when I think: what if all of the money that has been poured into war (cold|on drugs|on terrorism|on every other thing) had been put into improving the lives of people worldwide? While I don't think that we would have a Utopian society, I think that things would be a lot better all around. We would likely have better technological, scientific, and artistic achievement, less poverty, and AIDS would be a non-issue. We would also have a lot less "terrorism," because the whole world wouldn't be pissed off at the US and UK. Therefore, nutcases like Bin Laden would have nobody to recruit.

A tee-shirt I once saw said, "war is so 20th century." I think that about sums it up. We need to evolve now.

Re:What Goes Around (1)

Rayonic (462789) | more than 9 years ago | (#13018456)

These operations are exactly why the US should have led for banning all space weapons when we had the unchallenged political, economic, technological and military status in the 1990s.

If the Chinese government is covertly doing military research in space now, as you say, what would have prevented them from doing the same even with a treaty?

Oh wait... I get it. If we had a treaty, we could wag our collective fingers at them when they blast Taiwan off the map with an aimed meteorite.

Re:What Goes Around (1)

Doc Ruby (173196) | more than 9 years ago | (#13018503)

I specifically said "treaty" and "regime". You really don't know how international law works, do you? We don't wave fingers. We have international inspectors and spies who monitor compliance and take action, usually under the treaty's terms, to stop violations. Not every military enforcement of UN rulings is a lie about WMD to justify invading Iraq, but that's how they work.

Re:What Goes Around (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#13018606)

...ha ha ha ha... now that was funny. Military action? We're doing jack fuckin shit to North Korea and you think we'd do anything to China, which has a lot more nukes, except maybe some weak sanctions (not too many or Walmart's prices will go up and politicians will be voted out).

Re:What Goes Around (4, Insightful)

NanoGator (522640) | more than 9 years ago | (#13018480)

"With 2B people to feed, China has much more pressing issues that saving the Earth from comets."

That's the problem, iddn't it? They can't afford to be hit by a comet, either. Well roundedness/diversity can be a good thing. Consider the USA's space program. Suppose it never happened, would the USA be the same for it? Maybe they want to cover their butts and spark a little technological innovation to boot.

"This project is a cover for military operations in space. Maybe they're researching how to divert a planetoid into the Earth, potentially more powerful than any nuclear weapon."

Err maybe. The way I see it, though, this sort of weapon has the same drawbacks as a nuclear weapon. It's not like they're going to use it against their enemies without it being traced back to them. If they managed to drop a comet on somebody, from a consequences point of view they'd be in just as much shit as they would be if they had fired a nuclear weapon. Worse, it'd take a hell of a lot longer to get the ball rolling, not to mention the dangerous consequences of a small mistake. What would stop the USA or any other government from responding with nuclear weapons if China pulled a stunt like that? Truth be told, I have trouble imagining that the impact of a comet wouldn't rock their boat, anyway. If it hit the water, for example, well just think about that. If a big enough comet hit to kick a lot of dust into the air, well they wouldn't be fond of that, either. Maybe I'm just incredibly naieve about how useful of weapon a comet diversion would be, but IMHO this theory just seems too far-fetched.

An alternative explanation is that China's vasteness makes the concept of a comet or asteroidal impact a bit scary. (At least on a statistical level.) Perhaps they're worried about their own territory. They might even be trying to improve their global image. "We're trying to save the planet here!"

Anyway, I can speculate all day about it. I'm not trying to say you're wrong. I'm just not sure I suspect you're right.

Wrong. (5, Insightful)

lheal (86013) | more than 9 years ago | (#13018510)

You're not wrong about China having an ulterior military motive for their space work. A nation (even an Axis of Evil Rogue Nation) has a right to defend its interests against a perceived threat. Of course China has military uses planned for their extraterrestrial technology.

But you're completely wrong in thinking that we could say or do anything to stop China from doing anything they really want to do. Had we shown "leadership" and pushed for a ban on military uses of space, they wouldn't have listened anyway.

We will have weapons in space because we have weapons wherever we go. We are a violent, overconsumptive, power-hungry race.

Get past it. You'll sleep better.

Re:Wrong. (1)

Doc Ruby (173196) | more than 9 years ago | (#13018542)

The entire stated purpose of the US opening global markets with the WTO to China was to create their dependency on other nations, for negotiations like mutual security. Of course I know the politicians and their corporate bribers^Wcontributors were lying about that, to enrich themselves at our expense. But I won't be "getting past it". I will oppose it. Your complacency might help you sleep better, but I don't sleep better by living in denial, hopeless despair. Instead I work to make it better. That, and hope, helps me sleep just fine at night.

Re:What Goes Around (1)

mgs1000 (583340) | more than 9 years ago | (#13018587)

Instead we've funded unworkable Star Wars missile defense systems for billions of dollars, opening the door for every other country that wants to knock out Jesse James to be the #1 gunfighter in the East and West.

If it's unworkable, why should be worried?

Re:What Goes Around (1)

Bimo_Dude (178966) | more than 9 years ago | (#13018637)

Because the government has spent massive amounts of our money on BS like this. IMHO, this money is just payoffs to their friends, and they've known that it would never work from the beginning. Kind of like the Iraq invasion, occupation, and [un]intended reconstruction.

It's 11:00PM... do you know where your tax dollare are?

Re:What Goes Around (1)

timeOday (582209) | more than 9 years ago | (#13018665)

With 2B people to feed, China has much more pressing issues that saving the Earth from comets.
"Feeding the people" is a matter of economic growth. With 9.1% economic growth last year [cia.gov] , I'd say they're growing their economy about as fast anybody would dare try.

Now that China is a manufacturing superpower, the next logical steps up the value chain would be research, development, and marketing. Then they can fire all the foreign executives who now keep so much of the value of what they make through outsourcing.

World killer? (4, Funny)

Sancho (17056) | more than 9 years ago | (#13018349)

All these "deep impact" projects are starting to freak me out. Does the One World Government know something we don't?

Re:World killer? (2, Funny)

Nimloth (704789) | more than 9 years ago | (#13018483)

Sir, please take down the link to your website in your account profile, this website is ours and contains copyrighted material.

If you do not take this link down within 48 hours I will be forced to contact the authorities.

Sincerely, Darl M.

Re:World killer? (1)

NanoGator (522640) | more than 9 years ago | (#13018511)

"All these "deep impact" projects are starting to freak me out. Does the One World Government know something we don't?"

They know that it's a realistic possibility. They also know that there ain't a whole lot we can do when something finally does show up.

Re:World killer? (1)

eno2001 (527078) | more than 9 years ago | (#13018607)

Troll? What kind of retard modded this? If anything it's funny. However, there is always the big question about the return of "Planet X" AKA Niburu... It COULD happen.

Re:World killer? (2, Interesting)

Sancho (17056) | more than 9 years ago | (#13018639)

I guess some people don't know the definition of the word Troll....

See, it'd be trolling if I suggested that Bush's war with Iraq was merely a distraction to keep the public from knowing about the comet.

Deep impact data should help the Chinese effort (4, Insightful)

mikewas (119762) | more than 9 years ago | (#13018351)

The Deep Impact mission was to learn about comets' structure. The comet threw up a tremendous amount of debris, much more than was expected.

It would seem that the data gathered would be critical to any future mission to comets that intended to push a comet off course.

The next step of course (4, Insightful)

cxreg (44671) | more than 9 years ago | (#13018354)

is to find a comet that is actually going to impact Earth...

I wouldn't put it past them... (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#13018371)

... to knock a harmless asteroid into a collision-course with Earth.

Re:I wouldn't put it past them... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#13018400)

Well at least Russia isn't in charge of this, because in Soviet Russia asteroid blows you up.

Re:I wouldn't put it past them... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#13018450)

... to knock a harmless asteroid into a collision-course with Earth.

Why do they hate Mecca?

Star Wars speace-weapons research (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#13018376)

Maybe these tests are really just a way nations can slightly tip their hands regarding their black-project space-weaponry research, without directly acknowledging such undercover programs.

Chinese technology (1)

MyLongNickName (822545) | more than 9 years ago | (#13018386)

Has China begin using rockets they have designed, or are they still using Russian technology?

litigation (4, Funny)

Gherald (682277) | more than 9 years ago | (#13018407)

Ahhh, the advantages of not having a proper modern legal system [google.com]

If it was Europe trying to pull this shit, we'd have a second defendant!

First Post (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#13018574)

Wooohoo ! Too late chinese bastards ! We got on this comet first !

I for one... (4, Funny)

Serapth (643581) | more than 9 years ago | (#13018408)

look forward to a nation finally putting a man on the moon, instead of faking it! :)

Re:I for one... (1)

Serapth (643581) | more than 9 years ago | (#13018505)

Hahaha... modded to troll on a joke in less then 5 seconds... You people take your space race very seriously, dont you? :) Fuck it, ive got karma to burn... mod this a troll too!

Just to catch you up..... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#13018564)

The world is round

Re:Just to catch you up..... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#13018603)

Couldn't we have a "has no sense of humor" mod?

China, the new SUPERPOWER(tm)! (0)

TiggertheMad (556308) | more than 9 years ago | (#13018416)

China has been doing a lot of posturing about space lately. Personally, I think it's just the comunist party making an attempt at trying to look like they are a competent government rather than the pack of stupid greedy thugs that they are.

However, I just had an interesting thought. Isn't this sort of a dual use bit of research? While diverting comets and such is a grand and generous bit of science, wouldn't the ability to drop a fifty ton chunk of rock on your enemy's capitol be quite a weapon? A 'Star Wars' missile defense systems would be useless, and it would make the third generation MIRV cruse missile nukes that we have look like fire crackers. There is even a plausable deniablility factor, if you just want to fuck with someone. ("We are very sorry about the the rock that leveled Washington, but these things happen...")

MY GOD, WE HAVE A GAP IN OUR AERSONAL OF GIANT SPACE ROCKS!

Re:China, the new SUPERPOWER(tm)! (2, Informative)

wibs (696528) | more than 9 years ago | (#13018520)

Personally, I think it's just the comunist party making an attempt at trying to look like they are a competent government rather than the pack of stupid greedy thugs that they are.

What, you mean like every other government in every other country? A close friend of mine has spent almost 10 months of the past two years in China, from what he says the truth about how China handles its citizens lies somewhere between what China or the US would have you believe. Take what you hear from US-gov supplied press reports with a grain of salt.

There are exceptions, but a general rule of thumb is that the people in power got there because they put a lot of effort into gaining power. I don't care if they're democrats, republicans, communists, or whatever - most are greedy bastards.

MY GOD, WE HAVE A GAP IN OUR AERSONAL OF GIANT SPACE ROCKS!

rofl

Re:China, the new SUPERPOWER(tm)! (1)

Metasquares (555685) | more than 9 years ago | (#13018558)

Now that they've announced it, MAD would stop them from doing anything of the sort.

Re:China, the new SUPERPOWER(tm)! (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#13018565)

I hate to break it to you but China's government is a hell of a lot more competent than the Bush dynasty.

Anyone who pays attention to international economics knows the Chinese government knows what they are doing.

The Chinese leadership is made of engineers and economists while the American leaders are businessmen and lawyers. Who's the greedy thugs?

Better a space race (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#13018419)

...than an arms race.

A Chinese Moon Landing (4, Funny)

PrntlUnit27 (878377) | more than 9 years ago | (#13018420)

What if they don't find a US flag up there?

Re:A Chinese Moon Landing (1)

Gherald (682277) | more than 9 years ago | (#13018435)

> What if they don't find a US flag up there?

If they don't respect America's claim to the moon, I'll wager Taiwan becomes the 52nd U.S. state along with Puerto Rico.

Re:A Chinese Moon Landing (1)

Mike Markley (9536) | more than 9 years ago | (#13018648)

What claim to the moon? We were under an international agreement explicitly forbidding any such claims, hence the engraving on Eagle's base: "We came in peace for all mankind." The US flag was symbolism (and something to rub the Soviets' noses in), not a territorial claim.

What if they find a UNOCAL flag up there? (1)

haakondahl (893488) | more than 9 years ago | (#13018552)

Then they'll have to race Chevron!

...which out to be a fair fight. I'd put a multinational oil conglomerate up against the world's largest tin-pot dictatorship anyday.

stupid reporters (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#13018426)

China's mission would instead be mainly aimed at protecting the planet from being hit by a comet or asteroid, Mr Zhao said, referring to the kind of doomsday scenario shown in the 1998 film "Deep Impact", for which the US spacecraft was named.

It was NOT named for the movie, in fact the project was named before the movie was made.

Re:stupid reporters (3, Funny)

Snarfangel (203258) | more than 9 years ago | (#13018467)

It was NOT named for the movie, in fact the project was named before the movie was made.

The next thing you'll claim is that Armageddon isn't a made-up name at all, but based on some old book.

The thing is... (1)

mark-t (151149) | more than 9 years ago | (#13018437)

That the comets that might _potentially_ hit the earth are the most stunning to view from earth. Diverting them away from earth takes away some awesome home astronomical viewing. If they are going to do this, they should only divert ones that they can certainly establish would pass too close for comfort (which might happen once or twice in a hundred years).

The math doesn't look good... (4, Interesting)

G4from128k (686170) | more than 9 years ago | (#13018446)

An estimate of the orbital delta-v for Tempel /Deep Impact [universetoday.com] suggests a velocity change of only 1 cm/hour (I can't vouch for the math). Assuming we would need to nudge a threatening body by 1/2 the diameter of the Earth (from direct hit to grazing pass-by), we would need to know to hit a Tempel 1-sized body in advance by over 73,000 years. This type of mission would work 10 years in advance for much smaller bodies (say less than 350 m in diameter). Even these estimates assume a perfect strike by the deflecting deep impactor -- a margin of error or the need to push the object several Earth-diameters further reduces the potential for this method.

Kinetic energy is not the way to go. Deep Impact delivered only about 4.5 kt of TNT. In contrast, a good sized thermonuclear weapon could deliver thousands of times that energy (even taking into account the relatively poor conversion of 100 megatons yield into delta-V).

Re:The math doesn't look good... (1)

Kinky Bass Junk (880011) | more than 9 years ago | (#13018457)

In contrast, a good sized thermonuclear weapon could deliver thousands of times that energy (even taking into account the relatively poor conversion of 100 megatons yield into delta-V).

Keeping in mind I know nothing about nuclear weapons, what would happen if they were to use thermonuclear weapons to divert it, and they hit it, but failed? Would it really screw over earth if it came down, along with all the (I'm assuming here) fallout?

Re:The math doesn't look good... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#13018499)

huge explosions make asteroids into shotgun blasts

Re:The math doesn't look good... (1)

Rakishi (759894) | more than 9 years ago | (#13018626)

If I remember correctly we've already dumped more radiation into the atmosphere than such a deflection would. There were all those nukes (tests mostly), a few space probes (which for some time vented their radiactive fuel in case of problems), and coal power plants (which I belive put out some radiactive material since its in the coal they burn, small for each plant but we burn a shitload of coal). In the end, the Earth is a big place and it probably doesn't really matter.

Re:The math doesn't look good... (1)

Chris Burke (6130) | more than 9 years ago | (#13018519)

Energy isn't exactly relevent since what we need to do is transfer momentum. I don't think a nuclear weapon is the best way to do that. If you're going to send a fission device out there, I say use an engine. This probably requires a delicate rendevous with the comet, rather than a simple ballistic interception, though.

Re:The math doesn't look good... (1)

MyLongNickName (822545) | more than 9 years ago | (#13018523)

Kinetic energy from one blast might not work. But if you could land something on the comet that could provide a sustained small thrust, you wouldn't need the same lead time.

For example, a solar sail could do it... or some kind of rocket that could use the comet as fuel.

These experiments give us enough knowledge to at least give us options that have a chance of working.

Re:The math doesn't look good... (3, Interesting)

iggymanz (596061) | more than 9 years ago | (#13018559)

Here's neat link mentioning megatons of yield needed to deflect 1km asteroid by cm/s. here [spaceref.com] Repeated applications of the more usual 1-5 MT warheads seems more reasonable than the need to invent a 100MT monster. But if the dimensions of the asteroid are of the order of dozens of cubic km then we're probably screwed! 8D

Just to wax philosophical for a moment, I hear people talk about founding space stations so we "don't have all our eggs in one basket", but if the entire earth gets wiped out does it really matter if we have a couple dozen people in a space station or moon base? nah, who gives a crap at that point, certainly you or I won't....

Astronauts? (4, Informative)

gumpish (682245) | more than 9 years ago | (#13018449)

From the blurb: From the article: "The third nation to launch a man into space has lofty space ambitions that include putting two astronauts into orbit this September and eventually sending up a space station and even a manned mission to the moon."

I'm pretty sure you mean taikonaut (unless the Chinese are really sending Americans into space...)

Re:Astronauts? (3, Informative)

Rangsk (681047) | more than 9 years ago | (#13018513)

According to this [wikipedia.org] Wikipedia article:
Taikonaut is sometimes used in English for astronauts from China by Western news media. The term was coined in May 1998 by Chiew Lee Yih from Malaysia, who used it first in newsgroups. Almost simultaneously, Chen Lan coined it for use in the Western media based on the term tàikng (), Chinese for space. In Chinese itself, however, a single term yháng yuán (, "universe navigator") has long been used for astronauts and cosmonauts. The closest term using taikong is a colloquialism tàikng rén (, "space human") which refers to people who have actually been in space. Official English text issued by the Chinese government uses astronaut.

So I suppose astronaut would be as good a term as any.

You see... (5, Funny)

Surazal (729) | more than 9 years ago | (#13018452)

China's not happy since they are the fireworks experts. They don't want to be outdone.

I kid. ;^)

Which method? (4, Insightful)

davmoo (63521) | more than 9 years ago | (#13018458)

I wonder which way China will go with their visions for space.

Will they follow through and actually do what they claim.

Or will they take the US route (which we'll call "Fred") where we talk grand plans and visions...then we cut funding for other projects that are already successfully producing major scientific discovery, and finally we then cut funding even more and adapt 40 year old technology that never lived up to its original expectations in the first place. And then when it fails we propose gigantic new visions we don't intend to follow through on, so that everyone forgets about the failure of the earlier project.

yeh right (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#13018470)

more like it turns into a spaceship and flies toward an icy moon of a gaseous planet (only to attract a giant plant like fish thingy that causes the chinese-onauts to all die)

we should have nuked them 50 years ago -MacArthur (0, Flamebait)

v3xt0r (799856) | more than 9 years ago | (#13018474)

I still think MacArthur was right... we should have nuked the commie bastids 50 years ago when we had the chance.

I have nothing against the chinese people/culture/etc., but their corrupted decepticon-style gvmnt is worrysome to free-thinking individuals like myself, and should be to you too.

While evil corporations in america continue to sellout the people of america, the chinese gvmnt is quietly (and strategically) taking advantage.

Now you've got a star wars race going on, chinese spies embeded ALL OVER the world (w/ over 1200 in So. Cal. alone), and we continue to ignore the realities that we face.

I smell M.A.D. brewing, doesn't smell good. =/

Re:we should have nuked them 50 years ago -MacArth (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#13018643)

Why is this flamebait?

It's ALL TRUE. The guy gets modded down for speaking the truth?

Good heavens. Even on /. there are PC editors, working on creating their own senseless Utopia.

Live free, or Die.

I wouldn't worry too much about Chinese in Space.. (1)

haakondahl (893488) | more than 9 years ago | (#13018481)

...We have SDI!

Of course... (2, Interesting)

dbolger (161340) | more than 9 years ago | (#13018485)

the real irony comes when their first test to see if they can "nudge" a comet accidentally sends the target spiralling towards Earth ;)

They'd better hurry (1)

Snarfangel (203258) | more than 9 years ago | (#13018504)

...since aliens are going to start placing interplanetary real estate off limits starting in 2010.

It is clearly obvious... (1)

RollTissue (896833) | more than 9 years ago | (#13018528)

...that The Gipper [whitehouse.gov] was buddy buddy [bbc.co.uk] with China and made an under the table deal with them to *not* pursue any SDI [fas.org] projects until after Ronnie cashed in his chips. [whitehouse.gov]

Science tool or propaganda tool? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#13018553)

Why do I suspect the official spin on this is going to be a thin coating of science wrapped around something like "They may have landed men on the moon, and probes on Mars, but we SAVED THE WORLD FROM FLAMING DEATH!"

Or, as some neo cons may be thinking... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#13018556)

China plans Deep Impact Mission... into US.

Very original idea (2, Funny)

Hao Wu (652581) | more than 9 years ago | (#13018568)


Only genius of China nation think so clearly for future requirments of Grate Space missions.

The Nasa needs to play catch up games now, I beleive. (If try the copying of ideas, then perhaps you will find...)

Re:Very original idea (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#13018584)

What?

Instead of "Made in China" (5, Funny)

vchoy (134429) | more than 9 years ago | (#13018610)

Just imagine:

One big label on earth:

"Saved By China"

Unlike NASA mission ???? (1)

Jeet81 (613099) | more than 9 years ago | (#13018654)

I thought NASA exploded the comet to prevent future collisions too ??? or did they do that just for fun?
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