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China to Land on Moon Around 2017

Zonk posted more than 8 years ago | from the we're-whalers-on-the-moon-we-carry-a-harpoon dept.

Space 293

smooth wombat writes "China has announced that it plans to land on the moon around the year 2017. They also plan to set up a moon-based astronomical telescope, measure the thickness of the moon's soil as well as the amount of helium-3 on the moon. Helium-3 is regarded by some researchers as the perfect non-polluting fuel source. China's first lunar orbiter could blast off as early as 2007, coinciding with its third manned space trip in which possibly three men would orbit Earth in Shenzhou VII and conduct a space walk."

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Taking Their Sweet Time (2, Insightful)

ackthpt (218170) | more than 8 years ago | (#13954475)


"China has announced that it plans to land on the moon around the year 2017. ... China's first lunar orbiter could blast off as early as 2007..."

10 years to landon the moon?!?!? How many cows do they have tied up to the booster housing?

I could see 3 to 5 years, but this isn't exactly new rocket science [bursarvixen.com] , is it? Is there some matter of the Russians and Americans not sharing with them, or are the Chinese just so proud they want to do it all themselves?

The United States unveiled a $104 billion plan in September to return Americans to the moon by 2018.

I fully don't understand that. NASA already knows how to do it. Why the foot dragging? They got to the Moon practically at Warp Speed compared to this mission. It's a sad day to learn all my Sci-Fi books [amazon.com] will be further wrong on projections of lunar colonies, etc.

China was designing a rocket that could carry a payload of 25 tons, up from a present limit of eight tons, the Beijing News reported this week, though it would unlikely be ready for another six-and-a-half years.

Time to chuck the abacus and get some computers in those hands.

They should land just in time for the 100th Starbucks opening.

Re:Taking Their Sweet Time (4, Interesting)

IdleTime (561841) | more than 8 years ago | (#13954498)

US knows how to do it with 1960's technology, making the moon viable as a platform for other activities, requires almost repeating the Apollo program all over again. Why? Because all moon activity was stopped in 1972 when the last 2 Apollo flights were scrapped.

Plus maybe the most imporant factor: money. I guess China needs 10 year to spread the cost. Or would you rather pay for it? (And here I mean you, as in US citizens) USA owns China a LOT of money, i.e. China sits on wast dollar reserves. and can easily drive the value of dollar down the drain and/or raise the US interest rate a few points. Result of the almost 8 trillion dollar deficit USA has.

Re:Taking Their Sweet Time (2, Interesting)

ackthpt (218170) | more than 8 years ago | (#13954581)

US knows how to do it with 1960's technology, making the moon viable as a platform for other activities, requires almost repeating the Apollo program all over again. Why? Because all moon activity was stopped in 1972 when the last 2 Apollo flights were scrapped.

Some parts will scarcely change, while others which may take advantage of advances in materials and computers shouldn't lag much as we've still got active launch programs for shuttles and satellites. It's not like the people who did it all suddenly died and their knowledge was lost.

Plus maybe the most imporant factor: money. I guess China needs 10 year to spread the cost.

You've obviously mistaken China for a poor country.

Re:Taking Their Sweet Time (5, Funny)

Trigun (685027) | more than 8 years ago | (#13954985)

They could just stand on each other's shoulders like they did in the kung fu movies.

Re:Taking Their Sweet Time (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13955054)

NASA basically tossed everything it had on the Saturn V to justify funding for the shuttle.

The US and NASA do not have heavy lift capability. We would have to develop it again from scratch.

Re:Taking Their Sweet Time (5, Funny)

R3d M3rcury (871886) | more than 8 years ago | (#13954608)

"[...] China sits on wast dollar reserves [...]"
 
...which they need in order to pay for their nuclear wessels [imdb.com] .

(I'm sorry. I couldn't resist.)

Re:Taking Their Sweet Time (3, Informative)

LWATCDR (28044) | more than 8 years ago | (#13954894)

"sits on wast dollar reserves. and can easily drive the value of dollar down the drain and/or raise the US interest rate a few points."
You see that is the funny thing. If China drove down the value of the dollar then cheap stuff from china wouldn't be cheap! The less reason for jobs to be out sourced and production would shift back to the US. China can not afford to devalue the dollar or have it's currency go up. The last thing they want is to become a consumer economy instead of an exporting one. What you think would hurt the US would actually in the long run help it.

Re:Taking Their Sweet Time (1)

mikapc (664262) | more than 8 years ago | (#13955116)

China doesn't have as much control over us economically as you might think. The US has a nearly 12 trillion gross domestic product according to the cia world factbook, http://www.cia.gov/cia/publications/factbook/ [cia.gov] , so while the trend of deficits is a bad thing and could one day lead to China having that kind of leverage over us they are by no means there yet.

Re:Taking Their Sweet Time (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13954500)

You obviously have no touch on the physics/energy involved in this. Plus, the financial backing isn't like it was during the cold war.

Stop your ranting and go learn something.

Re:Taking Their Sweet Time (1)

fade-in (839519) | more than 8 years ago | (#13954503)

Watch the perjoratives, already. For a nation which is just barely emerging from third-world status, that is a very admirable feat.

Moreover, the fact that "we already know how to do it" doesn't mean we don't have to design and build entirely new vehicles. After all, engineering and software are light-years ahead of where they were when we first landed on the moon; are you suggesting we take the old 16-bit Apollo computers out of mothballs and re-use them?

Re:Taking Their Sweet Time (2, Insightful)

ackthpt (218170) | more than 8 years ago | (#13954549)

Watch the perjoratives, already. For a nation which is just barely emerging from third-world status, that is a very admirable feat.

These aren't cavemen. Their economy is growing at a blistering rate and they're graduating plenty of engineers through domestic and foreign universities. They don't need to get a bunch of old V2 rockets and figure out how it's done.

Moreover, the fact that "we already know how to do it" doesn't mean we don't have to design and build entirely new vehicles. After all, engineering and software are light-years ahead of where they were when we first landed on the moon; are you suggesting we take the old 16-bit Apollo computers out of mothballs and re-use them?

Haven't you seen that these are exactly the plans NASA are considering? Going back to the Saturn V as a basis for all space missions. The Russians have it running so regular it's becoming a bus service for rich tourists. You don't advance one item of technology at a time, such as the old computers, but have all the bits worked on by various companies or universities or even at NASA. This isn't new stuff and much has been gleened from experience.

Re:Taking Their Sweet Time (1)

nofx_3 (40519) | more than 8 years ago | (#13954936)

are you suggesting we take the old 16-bit Apollo computers out of mothballs and re-use them?
 
Nah, why should we bring out the old 16-bit Apollo computers when we can just buy a bunch of commodity Dells and emulate them with this! [ibiblio.org]

It was a crash program when we did it (4, Interesting)

Doug Coulter (754128) | more than 8 years ago | (#13954635)

And, NASA was mostly all engineers -- good ones. Now it's mostly PhDs. This is a big difference when it comes to actually accomplishing something. An engineer solves several problems a week, and writes reports about them -- all in the same week. A PhD has solved one problem, took a few years, then took another few years to write the report. And oh yeah, his solution doesn't have to work outside the lab. As a result of working with ex-NASA employees (the good engineers who got chased out by the academic snobbery) I found the corporate culture to be pretty sick in recent (some years ago) days. Gosh, this IS rocket science, and some of it is dangerous (work out how many horsepower hours it takes to put a car into orbit, with 100% efficiency -- it's one heck of a bomb those guys ride), but they are too timid to admit that surely some folks will die playing with it. It seems China has a more healthy outlook here, and might go somewhere with it. Of course, if the academics weren't eating every last dime of the appropriations to "study stuff that can't be checked or proved", there might be money to get the job done, as there was last time. It's profitable to remember that these super smart academics missed Mars by failing to know the difference between metric and English units. Of course they are scared to attempt something most perceive as "simple". They'll want to study it for the rest of their careers and pass the problem to the next guys.

Re:Taking Their Sweet Time (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13954711)

China has announced that it plans to land on the moon around the year 2017...

All of it??? Well, in that case they should take their sweet time.

Re:Taking Their Sweet Time (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13954938)

China isn't in a rush to get there. They know someone else been there first, so there is no need to rush the project by dumping more money at it just to say they got there. Chinas goal it seems to be to say they were the first to do something usefull on the moon and you can't really do that by doing only the min of work it takes to get a few people and small equipment.

They also know that its a very big possibility that they wont be able to do anything useful on the moon to warent spending a bunch of money at one time just to get there faster

Re:Taking Their Sweet Time (1)

fiannaFailMan (702447) | more than 8 years ago | (#13954972)

How many cows do they have tied up to the booster housing?.....Time to chuck the abacus and get some computers in those hands.
The sad thing is, such ignorance and nearly racist stereotyping will probably attract some 'insightful' mod points.

Travelling to the moon... (2, Funny)

TheTranceFan (444476) | more than 8 years ago | (#13955102)

Travelling to the moon ain't like dusting crops, boy! Without precise calculations they could fly right through a star or bounce too close to a supernova, and that would end their trip real quick, wouldn't it!

China to Land on Moon Around 2017 (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13954484)

The correct subject has to be:

2017 the Moon has landed on China.

Helium-3 is great and all... (4, Funny)

Krach42 (227798) | more than 8 years ago | (#13954486)

But since it's a fermion, it can't become a Bose-Einstein Condensate.

Sorry... too much Wikipedia :(

Re:Helium-3 is great and all... (5, Informative)

Rei (128717) | more than 8 years ago | (#13954637)

Helium-3 is really just an excuse. We can make all the helium-3 we want here on earth for much cheaper than it would ever be from the moon.

Helium-3 is a decay product of tritium (which has a reasonable half-life). Tritium can be produced by neutron bombardment of lithium targets. That's what it takes to make the stuff here on Earth

What about on the moon? Its crust is only 20 ppm helium. That's just helium, though - He3 is 10 ppb. That's a tiny, tiny amount of He3. Given that mining, refining, and shipping costs in extraterrestrial environments are going to be preposterously high for the near future, realistic recovery is just right out.

What about its applications? First off, first-gen nuclear reactors aren't going to be able to burn He3. You'd have to scale up something like ITER far beyond its already gargantuan size to think about getting that sort of confinement. Some potential reactors, such as inertial electrostatic fusion or focus fusion, should be able to scale to generate power from He3 (if they were able to pass break-even - a big if). Yet, such reactors could be similarly scaled to use B11+p fusion, which is a much better proposition than He3 fusion.

So, I don't hold much credence for He3 fusion, and even less for getting it from the moon.

Re:Helium-3 is great and all... (1)

Aenema (916366) | more than 8 years ago | (#13954980)

If we were to produce tritium we would be risking Doc Oc trying to steal it.

Re:Helium-3 is great and all... (1)

umbrellasd (876984) | more than 8 years ago | (#13955087)

Maybe someday not too far away we might build a space elevator from earth to the moon. It could be like a ginormous game of tetherball. And then...well, I guess we would need a humonginous shuttle shaped like a paddle, too, and it would have to be much more reliable than the current shuttle or...

Whoosh---------Whoosh-----Whoosh---Whoosh--Whoosh- -Whoo-Whoo-Who-Wh-W-CRUNCH.

On the bright side, transport costs from earth to moon would then go way down...

Re:Helium-3 is great and all... (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13954954)

It may not be able to directly Bose-Condense, but it *does* form a superfluid. (see the Nobel Prize given to Lee, Richardson, and Osheroff). It was, I believe, the first experiment to observe fermions forming a condensate like structure. They're believed to condense via in a cooper-pair like method.

Fermi condensates have now been made. Debbie Jin and her collaborators at JILA in Boulder made them a couple of years ago.

Relevant links are here: http://nobelprize.org/physics/laureates/1996/press .html [nobelprize.org]
and here: http://jilawww.colorado.edu/~jin/introduction.html [colorado.edu]

Territorial claims? (1, Funny)

LeonGeeste (917243) | more than 8 years ago | (#13954488)

Americans landed on the moon first and put a flag there. How much of it would the government have to cede to China if it also landed there?

Re:Territorial claims? (2, Interesting)

saskboy (600063) | more than 8 years ago | (#13954552)

"How much of it would the government have to cede to China if it also landed there?"

That's a trick question, no one owns the Moon, much like Antarctica isn't owned by any country either. Essentailly with the Moon, the people to own it, will be the first to colonize an area which will be off limits to other colonization attempts without co-operating. Unless we find that only select spots on the Moon are suitable for a habitat, then there's so much real estate to go around, that we won't have to worry about running out for several centuries. Good planning wouldn't hurt though, so we don't end up with a bunch of lunar cul-de-sacs like suburban sprall in North America. We want Lunar Children to be able to ride their moon bike to school without taking major moon-routes.

Re:Territorial claims? (3, Insightful)

trevdak (797540) | more than 8 years ago | (#13954607)

I think that it would be logical for countries to establish bases within reasonably close proximity. There is too much that can go wrong for someone to risk establishing a 'loner' base.

Re:Territorial claims? (2, Informative)

agrippa_cash (590103) | more than 8 years ago | (#13954663)

"We come in peace for all mankind."

Re:Territorial claims? (1)

redmond_herring (839209) | more than 8 years ago | (#13954720)

Actually, this is not an entirely silly idea. Who would own what? Who decides?
Will we eventually have to create a Moon government (think 200+ years from now), or will countries simply setup outposts?

Re:Territorial claims? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13954857)

"Possession is nine-tenths of law."

Nobody currently possesses any part of the moon.

Last one to the moon is a rotten egg!!!

Re:Territorial claims? (1)

42Penguins (861511) | more than 8 years ago | (#13954745)

Tinfoil hat response: We didn't land there...it was Hollywood.
More Likely:
First, the US doesn't "own" the moon. We just thought the flag would be pretty, and is a good first measure of an outer space pissing match.
Realistically, whoever is up there will pretty much be in control of what goes on. Or whoever sends those people supplies.

The law of the land in the new frontier:
Space Lasers.

Re:Territorial claims? (1)

msbsod (574856) | more than 8 years ago | (#13954836)

"That's one small step for man but one giant leap for mankind.", Neil Armstrong, 1969. http://news.bbc.co.uk/onthisday/hi/dates/stories/j uly/21/newsid_2635000/2635845.stm [bbc.co.uk]

Re:Territorial claims? (1)

nofx_3 (40519) | more than 8 years ago | (#13954988)

Of historical note, the actual quote is "That's one small step for a man one giant leap for mankind." however the "a" was lost in the radio transmition.

Re:Territorial claims? (3, Interesting)

ashitaka (27544) | more than 8 years ago | (#13955110)

No, it wasn't [snopes.com] .

I heard it with my own ears when he said it and a thousand times since. There wasn't enough time between "for" and "man" for there to have been an "a". Also the way his diction moves through "for man" differs than that if he had said "for a man" which would have come out more like "fora man". (Say it to yourself a few times)

Re:Territorial claims? (1)

R3d M3rcury (871886) | more than 8 years ago | (#13954875)

"Americans landed on the moon first and put a flag there."

Chinese then land on the moon and take the flag down and put up their own.

"Flag? What flag? It was a hoax. There was no flag here. We are the first!"

Re:Territorial claims? (1)

Wyatt Earp (1029) | more than 8 years ago | (#13955069)

The Moon is sort of like the ocean past the territorial limits.

It's open for everyone, however if you leave something there, it still belongs to you, for example the Chinese couldn't legally take any American or Soviet equipment left on the Moon.

Dibs (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13954501)

If China is going to land on the moon, then I call dibs on the land here on earth ...

Rocket big but penis small! eheh, so small. (0, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13954512)

Not He-3 again! (3, Insightful)

Rorschach1 (174480) | more than 8 years ago | (#13954514)

Frankly, I think this is a really stupid argument for lunar exploration. Yeah, it might be a good fuel - IF we had fusion reactors that could use it! It's not like bringing back a truckload of this stuff is going to instantly solve our energy problems.

Exactly how much better than the usual DT mix would this stuff have to be to make it worth the expense of getting it and bringing it back?

Re:Not He-3 again! (3, Insightful)

Krach42 (227798) | more than 8 years ago | (#13954554)

I think they're mostly going there to see how much there is there, not to start trucking it back.

First you have to know how abundantly you can get a fuel before you start using all of it. It'd be stupid to work on a fusion reactor that burns He-3 when it would just run out of fuel when we stopped being able to get ahold of the stuff...

you know... like coal, and gasoline.

Re:Not He-3 again! (0, Offtopic)

LeonGeeste (917243) | more than 8 years ago | (#13954599)

We'll never run out of coal or oil for the same reason we didn't run out of whale oil or copper. As the resource dwindles, investment in alternatives rachets up until someone discovers something that obviates the need for coal or oil. They thought we would run out of whale oil until someone found that crude oil can be used for lighting. They thought we would run out of copper for telephone wire until they found alternate materials, and later, satellites, to do the same thing.

Re:Not He-3 again! (4, Insightful)

Kjella (173770) | more than 8 years ago | (#13954705)

The world as a whole is consuming energy at a rapidly accelerating pace. The reserves of non-renewable energy are quite well known, and they aren't going to last long (in terms of where we'll be in 2050-2100). There are many ways to reduce the dependency on oil (fuel cells, natural gas, hybrid cars, electric cars) but they all require energy. Apart from the ever elusive fusion reactor, there really aren't any exciting plans to generate more energy. The renewable sources are fairly well known (sun, wind, water, wave energy) and don't amount to much. Remember that we are using up the natural supplies accumulated over millions of years in a few short centuries. That will not be easily replaced.

Re:Not He-3 again! (2, Interesting)

QuantumG (50515) | more than 8 years ago | (#13954883)

Gathering He3 from the gas giants in our solar system would be a lot more lucrative. The Moon just happens to be closer. But frankly, there's a heck of a lot more resources on the Moon than He3. Almost all the platinium group metals mined on earth come from meteor impact sites. It costs a lot to mine these metals on earth as erosion has washed most of the meteor away and the only ores left are the ones that fused with earth rocks. On the Moon there's no such erosion, so densities of platinium group metals are expected to be much higher in the millions and millions of craters we see up there. Of course, we don't have the technology to mine this massive wealth today, and we won't have it by 2020.

In Soviet Russia... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13954518)

...the Moon lands on you

Just wait 'til they get there (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13954523)

Wait until they arrive and find out it's just a Hollywood set.

Re:Just wait 'til they get there (1)

uberjoe (726765) | more than 8 years ago | (#13954715)

No, they will get there and find nothing but cheese.

China to Land on Moon Around 2017... (2, Funny)

FIT_Entry1 (468985) | more than 8 years ago | (#13954528)

That's gonna take a lot of dynamite...and who's going to light the fuse?

Chinese rail guns on the Moon. (5, Insightful)

khasim (1285) | more than 8 years ago | (#13954532)

They're taking the long view of becoming a super power.

And leaving their enemies radiation free.

Re:Chinese rail guns on the Moon. (4, Insightful)

Karma_fucker_sucker (898393) | more than 8 years ago | (#13954571)

They're taking the long view of becoming a super power.

At first I was trying to get the joke. Then I realized, it's an incredibly brilliant insightful remark - joking or not. The Chinese have a much longer view than we Westerners. They are on their way to becoming a Superpower and they know it. What I'm concerned about is this and subsequent administration's (US) take on this. Hopefully this may mean a new interest in space exploration and NASA?

If so: Whoo hooo!

Re:Chinese rail guns on the Moon. (1)

Amiga Trombone (592952) | more than 8 years ago | (#13954640)

What I'm concerned about is this and subsequent administration's (US) take on this. Hopefully this may mean a new interest in space exploration and NASA?

If our government takes this seriously, then yes, I expect you'll see a butt-load of new funding heading NASA's way. If there's anything the US government can't stand, it's the idea that any other country can trump us in any way. At least in this case, there's a constructive end to it.

We'll build more nukes. (4, Interesting)

khasim (1285) | more than 8 years ago | (#13954645)

We will operate under the same belief that served us well against the Soviet Union. We will build so many nukes and aim them at China that we will be able to destroy their entire country if they should ever attack us.

The problem is that, this time, we'll be playing the part of the Soviet Union and go bankrupt trying to support an Earth-bound force when they can drop rocks on us all night. All of our satelites will be useless. All of our production facilities will be useless. But we'll still spend money on them.

Re:We'll build more nukes. (1)

XchristX (839963) | more than 8 years ago | (#13954926)

That's utterly ridiculous. If you think the moon is a static object in the sky that you can stand on like it's an elevated platform and just drop things on Earth, then you clearly are quite normal here in slashdot wrt your ignorance of basic physics.

In order to launch something from the moon you'll have to give a projectile enough energy to:

1. Escape lunar gravity (small as it might be, you still need a sizable amount of KE to clear it)
2. Cancel out the orbital angular momentum of the moon wrt earth (part of which it gets by momentum conservation) without which it would merely dance around the earth in an elliptical orbit and have all the danger of a paperweight.
3. Have enough KE to make it to the point between the moon and Earth where their gravities cancel, and coast along from there.

Even if you use the mythical rail gun shown in crappy science fiction movies, the power requirements are too prohibitive. Far cheaper and easier to just launch nukes from LEO platforms and rely on good old air resistance to slow them down enough to drop in on the enemy.

Nice attempt at being paranoid though.

Re:We'll build more nukes. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13954956)

The problem is that, this time, we'll be playing the part of the Soviet Union
Yes. We're just like the Soviet Union now.

I'd love to analyze this further, but I've got a Big Mac with my name on it and tons of surfing of foreign news services to do before I get ready for my impromptu vacation to another state.

Re:We'll build more nukes. (3, Interesting)

suitepotato (863945) | more than 8 years ago | (#13954977)

Actually, we can build and loft transorbital weapons carrying vehicles at a rate that is truly staggering compared to China. Of couse, so could Japan for that matter. Ours though would carry some very well designed and very specialized nukes that would make any lunar base a thing of the past in short order. China can't militarize the moon. We could.

Never mind that doing so would be insane given the nearly quarter million mile distance away. An orbital vehicle with tungsten rods deorbited by rocket would be much more effective and need no advanced materials technology in comparison to any "railgun" or other electromagnetic weapon. These can be lofted for a small fraction of a moon mission so forgo one moon mission and buy a small fleet of satellites that can pound any known ground force into dust and smoke in the blink of an eye.

Going to the moon is ego polishing for China, irrespective of the communists who know how old and feeble they are getting and have only been playing for time against their shorter and more violent removal. They know China will become a multi-party democratic nation eventually, but that moon landing with always be a CHINESE event. Everyone who has ruled China back to the first emperor would find pride in it.

Pride is a powerful motivation and one the west seems to be forgetting in an orgy of nonsensical "the west is responsible for all evil" self-loathing. The Chinese don't loathe themselves or their nation or their people. Neither should we on the other side of the planet loathe ourselves. We've all done some amazing things in a short period of time and have a right to hold our heads up and continue driving forward. Us here in the west AND China in the east. If more people understood that the evil that men do does not make the men inherently evil and unworthy of continuance, we might already have lunar colonies. Instead we sit here on this limited ball of rock crying our beer about the past. We have a future to get on with and we shouldn't throw it away. China isn't.

Re:Chinese rail guns on the Moon. (2, Funny)

technoextreme (885694) | more than 8 years ago | (#13954622)

They're taking the long view of becoming a super power. And leaving their enemies radiation free.
First country to Alpha Centari wins!!!!! (Someone had to say it)

Obligatory quote (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13954539)

I for one welcome our new pointy-eyed, moonwalking overlords

Glow or Go? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13954557)

A space race is more productive than an arms race.

More Competition (1)

msbsod (574856) | more than 8 years ago | (#13954568)

I like the idea of competition. China, the EU, US, or maybe even the UN (just joking), someone will eventually go back to the moon and start new missions from there. And I like the idea of a moon based telescope. Great times!

Re:More Competition (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13954759)

If you are china, this is good. They are on the upswing and can afford to do this. America is in growing trouble.



The first problem is our deficit. Between Reagan and GWB, it is now out of control. The ability to afford what we had in the 60's, 70's, and even the 80's, is no longer possible. Bush I and Clinton worked hard to balance the budget, but this bush pretty much has killed all shots at it for the next 15 years.


More than 60 % of all oil is controlled by countries that are hostile to America. Venezula and Iran
are increasingly offering discounts to everyone except for countries that they view as unfriendly, namely America. It is the same tactic that America has done for eons to others. Russia is increasingly so-so towards us. That leaves Iraq and Saudia Arabia. We will leave Iraq before the next presidential election so that the republicans can get back in. Sadly, the job will not be done. No doubt that means that Al Qaida will be taking over within 5 years. Before that time, they will be fighting hard with Saudia Arabia i.e. all OPEC countries will be at best neutral towards us, but most likely hostile. The only solution out of this, was to start moving towards nuclear and alternative over the last few years. Instead, GWB's policies have been to move us to being more dependant on oil. When Iraq and Saudia Arabia fall, America will be in a world of hurt.


As much as I believe in NASA and the idea of getting us to the moon/mars, I fear that we no longer have the resources to do so. If for no other reason, than it has been 46 year since America has a true leader. And since him, there been only 2 leaders who did what was needed, rather than what they thought would help them or their friends. In both cases, we fired them.

Mine the moon screw up the environment (3, Funny)

technoextreme (885694) | more than 8 years ago | (#13954600)

Let's just mine the moon of it's natural resources. It won't affect the earth in any way or will it... If we take off any sizable chuck of the moon it will affect the tides.

Re:Mine the moon screw up the environment (0, Flamebait)

Eightyford (893696) | more than 8 years ago | (#13954749)

Let's just mine the moon of it's natural resources. It won't affect the earth in any way or will it... If we take off any sizable chuck of the moon it will affect the tides.

That may be the dumbest fucking thing that I have ever heard... but of course, your'e joking!

Re:Mine the moon screw up the environment (3, Insightful)

Reality Master 101 (179095) | more than 8 years ago | (#13954751)

Dude, do the math. If we stripped off the first mile deep of mass all the way around the moon, its volume would only be reduced by 0.28% or so. That's a lot of mass, and not much of an effect.

Re:Mine the moon screw up the environment (1)

Reality Master 101 (179095) | more than 8 years ago | (#13954763)

Oh, and I should have pointed out that the inner part of the moon is much denser than the outer part, so the overall effect on mass would be much less than 0.28%.

Re:Mine the moon screw up the environment (1)

san (6716) | more than 8 years ago | (#13954781)

But think of the gravitational energy we can extract from that!

and beginning in 2018... (0)

Tumbleweed (3706) | more than 8 years ago | (#13954623)

...China corners the market on cheap imported green Moon cheese. Mmmm...green Moon cheese...*droool*

Hey, where's the Chinese Tang? It'll probably be Green Tea Tang.

Re:and beginning in 2018... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13955104)

mmm.. there's nothing like some good chinese tang.. :)

All Your Resource Base Are Belong to Us (1, Insightful)

Mulletproof (513805) | more than 8 years ago | (#13954628)

"Helium-3 is regarded by some researchers as the perfect non-polluting fuel source."

We've had this discussion before. It takes MASSIVE amounts of raw material to harvest Helium-3, so much so that we're effectvely talking about strip-mining the moon. Me thinks that a LOT of people are going to be opposed to turning the face of the moon into one huge resource operation. Of course, you could try the darkside and mess it up to your heart's content, but that'll create huge logistics problems beyond just strip mining the moon.

Sorry, but just don't see this as anything more than 'moon propaganda' on the part of whowever brings it, not just China. Of course, i tend to take their claims with a grain of salt anyway, but...

Re:All Your Resource Base Are Belong to Us (2, Insightful)

belg4mit (152620) | more than 8 years ago | (#13954756)

Yeah! We wouldn't want to scar it's face with craters or anything.
Look, I'm greener than most but unless there's life on luna, I have
no problem mining it for He3. Of course, lunar based PV would be a
better power system.

Obligatory Monty Python Song..... (0, Troll)

segedunum (883035) | more than 8 years ago | (#13954629)

I like Chinese, I like Chinese, They only come up to your knees, Yet they're always friendly and they're ready to please I like Chinese, I like Chinese, There's nine hundred million of them in the world today, You'd better learn to like them that's what I say.

They just want check... (4, Funny)

Chocolate Teapot (639869) | more than 8 years ago | (#13954631)

...that they can see the Great Firewall from space.

Proving something? Anything? (3, Insightful)

carsamba (826051) | more than 8 years ago | (#13954634)

Since the days of US vs CCCP space race has passed and nobody seems to be interested in our very convenient stepping stone for some real exploration. We have become so much accustomed to satisfied with the warp drives and photon sails and whatever in the space opera shows we like so much, many people (perhaps excluding most /.ers) are overlooking the fact they are waiting to be invented and implemented. Since the Soviet Union is no more, the battlefield has shifted somewhere else, space exploration has served its temporary political purpose now the russkies are defeated (though it was very useful for technological advances as a side effect). We are living the days of land and resource grab (WMD anyone?), when nobody wishes to look ahead.
China has been a world power for -let me see- all known history, and is chinese first and anything else a distant second. They are a pragmatic people, move with slow but sure steps. I certainly hope this move of theirs will have more real tangible benefit to humankind, and not just for political bravado.

Re:Proving something? Anything? (1)

msbsod (574856) | more than 8 years ago | (#13954660)

Well, if the "russkies" were defeated, then the ISS would be no more either. Let's welcome them all, including the French. :)

You really have an odd sense of history (0)

technoextreme (885694) | more than 8 years ago | (#13954677)

China has been a world power for -let me see- all known history, and is chinese first and anything else a distant second. They are a pragmatic people, move with slow but sure steps. I certainly hope this move of theirs will have more real tangible benefit to humankind, and not just for political bravado.
China a superpower for all known history????? No. Not even close. China has always been a poor farming country until recently.

Re:You really have an odd sense of history (1)

fitchmicah (920679) | more than 8 years ago | (#13954784)

Every other country was also a "poor farming country" for a while as well.

Re:You really have an odd sense of history (4, Informative)

HungWeiLo (250320) | more than 8 years ago | (#13954918)

China has always been a poor farming country until recently.

Poor farming countries tend not to be able to carry out voyages with a fleet of over 300 ships of which some are the size of a small aircraft carrier [wikipedia.org] , halfway around the world (and some say all the way around the world [telegraph.co.uk] ) nearly 100 years before Columbus.

Re:You really have an odd sense of history (1)

carsamba (826051) | more than 8 years ago | (#13954990)

I still beg to differ: It is wrong to evaluate different cultures with your values. Yes, they have never been colonial like the British or the Spanish were once, or culturally and politically invasive as the U.S. is today. But for thousands of years now they have been culturally stable, very large and very powerful though pretty much "dormant" -as we like to call it-. Just because they do not strut this around, does not mean we should be blind to this.

But why? (1, Interesting)

Red Samurai (893134) | more than 8 years ago | (#13954675)

What exactly is the point? It was already done over 30 years ago, why waste time and money doing it again? Note: This comment is assuming, of course, that the moon landings were actually real, which they weren't.

Re:But why? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13954714)

Why not? Is it impossible?

They just don't have the motivation nowadays.

Re:But why? (1)

msbsod (574856) | more than 8 years ago | (#13954758)

You are right, just going to the moon for fun is waste. I think we should forget about the 3He idea (even ITER will be more difficult than current press releases tell). But building telescopes to gather knowledge about the universe is IMHO worth the trip. Those telescopes would certainly not only cover the optical spectrum. Radiotelescopes, Tera Hertz receivers, high energy particle detectors, these are just a few possibilities to extend the range of a telescope and there is no better place than the moon to do this kind of astronomy. That is at least better than to tell the next administrator that she or he has to pay for a ticket to Mars, without stating the reason.

Re:But why? (1)

Alderin1 (921899) | more than 8 years ago | (#13954976)

Extend the range of the telescopes so that we can see further into areas we can't get to... this is valid research for what exactly? Will it help us with our power concerns? Will it help us with lower cost housing? Will it help us prepare to defend our planet from an astonomical event? A full survey of our own Solar system to identify as many Earth threats as possible would be more worthwhile, and would not take extended range. It just would take more current-power-level telescopes with extra-atmospheric positioning and a nice networked database. But that won't happen because all the astronomy research money is spent trying to figure out how old the universe is (like that matters) and other equally purposeless adgendas. "That asteroid is in an orbit that might hit us, but boy that nebula 20,000 lightyears away is pretty."

Re:But why? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13955031)

Your statement is quite ironic. If we listened to you a couple centuries ago, when galileo was looking into the heavens, we would have no idea that there exist things like asteroids.

Hmmm (5, Funny)

sundancekid503 (927309) | more than 8 years ago | (#13954681)

I bought many of acres of moon land through the "Lunar Registry". I assume that China will check with me before picking a landing spot? I don't want any of my prime real estate damaged by their rockets.

I didn't pay $32/acre just to let anyone use it. That would be stupid!

Allegiance Anyone? (1)

theseeria (849566) | more than 8 years ago | (#13954694)

Free Allegiance [freeallegiance.org]

oh crap... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13954698)

... it seems like same ol, same ol, same old diatribes on going back to the moon.

My Rant for the Week:

1. Saturn V plans still exists, it's the infrastructure that needs to be rebuilt.
2. NASA speaks mostly of contracts and budgets, I wonder how many badged employees (civil servant and contractor) understand the rocket equation.
3. To get money to build the CEV and CLV, they have to cancel other programs and layoff people (not a good way to build consensus).
4. A "light year" is a unit of distance, NOT time!!!!

Mike

How dare they... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13954699)

...want to go to our moon. We had it first.

Been there, done that, got the tee shirt! (1)

Munta (925134) | more than 8 years ago | (#13954710)

Using helium! Any chance of sending Richard Branson up with them? In fact, I think he may have tried it already. Virgin Moon Landing [catandtoast.com]

So.. (2, Funny)

Omnieiunium (872399) | more than 8 years ago | (#13954725)

NASA is out-sourcing as well?

Can we still be proud? (0, Troll)

bogaboga (793279) | more than 8 years ago | (#13954740)

Can we as Americans still be proud when the Chinese finally land on the moon? What frontier shall we be left with to brag about? The sad thing is that, even with technology, we seem to have no answer to IEDs in Iraq...so much so that it appears we are being whipped over there!

Never mind that Dick Cheney said that increased insurgent activity is characteristic of kicks of a dying horse! This he said almost a year ago! Take a look http://icasualties.org/oif/ [icasualties.org] . The picture looks ugly.

So they'll be there first? (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13954752)

China - 2017
USA - 2018

not of course counting: Hollywood - 1969

Vapor hardware (3, Interesting)

amightywind (691887) | more than 8 years ago | (#13954773)

It notice that is 1 year before the first planned landing for NASA's new lunar lander. For China to land on the moon by 2017 Apollo style they would have to have at least a 100 ton class booster and a huge, visible effort. The planned Long March 5 booster is only 25 ton class (like Arianne V or Atlas V). Development isn't even approaved yet and it will take 7 years to develop. I doubt if the Russians will be helping them. If you ask me I'd say the Chinese spokesman was smoking crack.

Re:Vapor hardware (1)

WindBourne (631190) | more than 8 years ago | (#13954928)

They only need a 100 tonne rocket if they do the single shot the way that we did. They will probably elect to use a vehicle that is launched into space for the sole purpose of serving as a transport between the moon and earth. They will also send a small space station to orbit the moon. And finally develop a small craft to go between the station to the surface. It is very feasible to launch a large number of small crafts this way. In fact, cheaper in some ways (better use of the facility; if you lose a craft, you do not lose as much).

With that said, if we redisign the shuttle, then we can send a great deal more to the moon on each shot. Fast way to build a station up.

Re:Vapor hardware (1)

amightywind (691887) | more than 8 years ago | (#13955023)

And finally develop a small craft to go between the station to the surface. It is very feasible to launch a large number of small crafts this way.

It is not at all feasible. Each craft would have meet basic mission requirements and be autonomous and storable in orbit or lunar orbit for months. A tall order for a country that has never docked spacecraft or developed high energy stages.. Then it would all have to come together perfectly at the time of the mission. Not likely.

if you lose a craft, you do not lose as much).

An absurd statement.

Re:Vapor hardware (2, Informative)

R3d M3rcury (871886) | more than 8 years ago | (#13955044)

That's assuming they do it the same way that NASA did--namely, one big rocket to heft everything up into orbit.

Suppose, instead, that they lift the rocket engine and fuel into orbit on one Long March. Then send the crew up in another Long March with the lander, etc. The crew gets into orbit, docks with the rocket engine, fires the engine and heads to the moon.

NASA didn't do it that way the first time around, though I believe they're going to do it that way this time around.

Re:Vapor hardware (1)

shutdown -p now (807394) | more than 8 years ago | (#13955099)

I doubt if the Russians will be helping them.
Why not? Chinese have the money, and are willing to pay. Plus the general feeling in Russia these days is that they are "strategic partners".

Hello China (0, Flamebait)

charlie in the trees (862590) | more than 8 years ago | (#13954812)

Welcome to 1969-1972. Arrived a bit late, haven't you? Oh well, it must be the communist/corrupt government/3rd World status thats slowing you down. NASA will be on the moon by 2015, they can't be beaten by China.

Asians in Space. (3, Funny)

natedog44 (928601) | more than 8 years ago | (#13954852)

They don't even know how to drive a car, and they're going to land on the moon? Good Luck... Hopefully they don't dent up the ISS while en route =P

Re:Asians in Space. (0, Troll)

greatwall (716508) | more than 8 years ago | (#13954981)

idiot!

ummm (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13954865)

doesnt the moon help keep us as a planet in orbit? if so, what happens when they mine it to a crumb?

an easy mix-up... (1)

lortho (700090) | more than 8 years ago | (#13954891)

I have Slashdot and The Onion right next to each other on my RSS feeds... I clicked this article thinking it was from The Onion...

LBJ (1)

Jerrry (43027) | more than 8 years ago | (#13954893)

"I do not believe that this generation of Americans is willing to resign itself to going to bed each night by the light of a Communist moon".

Maybe LBJ's words still ring true to the current generation...
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