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China's First Lunar Satellite Sends Back Pictures

CmdrTaco posted more than 6 years ago | from the new-race-is-on dept.

Moon 144

Fantastic Lad writes "Chinese leaders hailed images sent back from the country's first lunar satellite on Monday, saying they showed their nation had thrust itself into the front ranks of global technological powers. China plans to launch its third manned rocket, Shenzhou VII, into space in October 2008 and may send an astronaut on a space walk, a Shanghai paper said. But a space official downplayed plans to put a man on the moon."There are no plans at the moment to send anyone on to the moon. I've heard of foreign reports which say China will put a man on the moon by 2020, but I don't know of such a plan," said Sun Laiyan, head of the China National Space Administration. "Please don't give us any more pressure. But I'm confident one day we'll put an astronaut on the moon," he told a news conference."

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In related news... (2, Funny)

morgan_greywolf (835522) | more than 6 years ago | (#21479567)

But I'm confident one day we'll put an astronaut on the moon," he told a news conference.
In related news, Chinese scientists have been found to be studying old episodes of the 1950s American television show The Honeymooners [wikipedia.org] , hoping to actually the find the episode where Alice goes to the moon.

Re:In related news... (1)

Billosaur (927319) | more than 6 years ago | (#21479661)

The Moon is suddenly becoming a hot zone, with the Japanese and Chinese having satellites orbiting it and the United States thinking about a return, both publicly and via private-sector initiatives. Makes you wonder who will discover the Monolith in Tycho first...

Re:In related news... (1)

OriginalArlen (726444) | more than 6 years ago | (#21480471)

Makes you wonder who will discover the Monolith in Tycho first...
Only if you can't distinguish science fiction [wikipedia.org] from fact, ha-ha! ha-.. ...oh.

Re:In related news... (1)

LWATCDR (28044) | more than 6 years ago | (#21480575)

There seems to be a lot of interest in He3. I do wonder if some break through in Fusion happened but HE is required for it.
Wouldn't getting it HE3 from tritium decay be cheaper? I don't know but we will have to see.

Re:In related news... (1)

CRCulver (715279) | more than 6 years ago | (#21479663)

That was just a metaphor for beating his wife.

Re:In related news... (1)

Hassman (320786) | more than 6 years ago | (#21480673)

Yea, apparently beating one's wife used to be funny.

Haven't quite figured it out yet.

Re:In related news... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21479897)

One of these days, ONE OF THESE DAYS! They'll find it.

Despite politics (2, Interesting)

jshriverWVU (810740) | more than 6 years ago | (#21479579)

Congradulations! Science has no political boundaries. I just hope they are willing to share their results, much like we and the ESA has.

Mountaineer? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21479789)

Congradulations! Science has no political boundaries. I just hope they are willing to share their results, much like we and the ESA has.

Does the WVU in your name refer to an educational institution?

Seriously, get a refund.

Re:Despite politics (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21479871)

If you didn't see the rhetoric in the blurb or if you did and chose to ignore it, this is nothing but political pandering.

I suspect that they will share (1)

WindBourne (631190) | more than 6 years ago | (#21479891)

until they find something interesting. At that point, I expect it to be skipped. Keep in mind that while the chinese ppl are fine, the gov. is still the same one that has always been in place; secretive and having intentions other than what is said (i.e. they are like any other gov).

Re:I suspect that they will share (1)

jacekm (895699) | more than 6 years ago | (#21481173)

> they are like any other gov

This is stupid and completely untrue slogan. Communist governments are not even remotely like any democratic entity.

JAM

Yes, they are (1)

WindBourne (631190) | more than 6 years ago | (#21481789)

America, like nearly all of Europe, hides ALL sorts of information. W. has been spying on Americans for sometime, ILLEGALLY (and wants to get off scot-free). That makes W NO different than Chinese leaders. The ONLY difference between a "democratic entity" (really, it is a republic), is that we get to vote out the ppl that we do not like every so often. But if you look at how America has behaved over the last 6 years ( e.g. holding American citizens in Gitmo sets a precedent that other Americans can be held), we are not that much different than china. Keep in mind that even in America it took massive corruption on a scale not seen in America to cause a number of republicans to lose. It was not really the war alone that caused this. In fact, the war helped the republicans during the 2004 elections.

Re:Despite politics (1)

dwm (151474) | more than 6 years ago | (#21480031)

Appreciation of good science should have no political boundaries. But the Chinese, of course, are doing this for political reasons, just as the Americans did before them. Doesn't besmirch in any way their results, but the choice of what science gets funded is almost always political and economic.

Re:Despite politics (1)

Moralpanic (557841) | more than 6 years ago | (#21481219)

The western world has only shared with themselves. The Chinese have been trying to get into the International Space Station program for years, and they've been denied. Maybe if they had been given the opportunity, this 'race' wouldn't have started.

Their main goal (1)

InvisblePinkUnicorn (1126837) | more than 6 years ago | (#21479601)

Everyone knows the only reason China's putting so much effort into examining the moon is in the hopes of finding "Made in Taiwan" written in its dust.

Re:Their main goal (1)

Nintendork (411169) | more than 6 years ago | (#21480021)

Of course, this only works so long as they pwn Taiwan. There's a lot of people that want to see Taiwan independant [wikipedia.org] of the People's Republic of China (PRC).

maybe not 2020 (1)

techpawn (969834) | more than 6 years ago | (#21479607)

Please don't give us any more pressure. But I'm confident one day we'll put an astronaut on the moon
But he sounds pretty sure they will get there eventually. But how many decades of research do they have to build off of? Still this push back into space and a new "space race" is neat to watch.

Re:maybe not 2020 (1)

Ephemeriis (315124) | more than 6 years ago | (#21480619)

But he sounds pretty sure they will get there eventually.
If there's a real desire to get there, it'll happen. We know it can be done, that's been proven. Sure, there's a lot of work ahead of China... Plenty of R&D... But it can be done. And if China as a nation wants to put a man on the moon, there's no good reason they won't be able to.

That's what's missing here in the U.S. - desire. Folks don't seem to care much about NASA/space anymore, and funding keeps getting cut.

Re:maybe not 2020 (1)

Hatta (162192) | more than 6 years ago | (#21481239)

If the US could do it in under a decade 40 years ago, what makes you think the Chinese with 10x the population and 40 years of technological advancement can't?

It is Cheese (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21479611)

This is independently corroborated evidence , that the Moon is made of cheese. Oh the Power of Cheese !!!

Nah (1, Redundant)

jotok (728554) | more than 6 years ago | (#21479613)

They just ripped off existing American photos of the Moon.

Re:Nah (3, Funny)

Beorytis (1014777) | more than 6 years ago | (#21481229)

Which were faked to begin with!

That's weird (1)

InterBigs (780612) | more than 6 years ago | (#21479617)

Isn't there supposed to be an American flag on this side of the moon?

Re:That's weird (4, Funny)

CastrTroy (595695) | more than 6 years ago | (#21479703)

That was quite a while ago. It was probably blown away by the wind. Who knows where it is now.

Re:That's weird (2, Funny)

InterBigs (780612) | more than 6 years ago | (#21479787)

Ahh yes, lunar wind. Another glorious American discovery!

Re:That's weird (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21480611)

Ahh yes, lunar wind. Another glorious American discovery!
You mean another glorious American invention. Houston... we have a silent but deadly problem.

Re:That's weird (1, Insightful)

Kjella (173770) | more than 6 years ago | (#21479831)

The moon has next to no atmosphere and so no wind either. I don't know how long it takes for any of the other effects of basicly being a rock directly exposed to space and the sun take to erode away the flag, but I'm guessing quite some time.

Actually it does have wind (1)

WindBourne (631190) | more than 6 years ago | (#21480049)

Yes, it has a VERY thin atmosphere. More importantly, it does blow around there. Even more so, when a meteor hits it (frequently), or a space craft (not so frequently, but about to change).

Re:Actually it does have wind (1)

CastrTroy (595695) | more than 6 years ago | (#21480637)

The earth would get hit by meteors quite often too, if it wasn't for our atmosphere. Most stuff travelling towards the earth burns up in our atmosphere. Every time you see a shooting star, that's a meteor.

Re:Actually it does have wind (1)

WindBourne (631190) | more than 6 years ago | (#21480803)

Yes, I know. But the vast majority of our meteors burn up in the atmosphere. In Contrast, when a meteor hits the moon, it can throw the material literally around the moon. It is part of what creates the "wind" on the moon.

Re:Actually it does have wind (0, Troll)

Aphex Junkie (633436) | more than 6 years ago | (#21482287)

in after unfunny faggots

Re:That's weird (2, Insightful)

Facetious (710885) | more than 6 years ago | (#21480081)

Dude, get your joke-meter fixed. One of the we-didn't-go-to-the-moon conspiracy theory pieces of evidence was the flag "blowing" in the "wind" on film.

Re:That's weird (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21481803)

welcome to slashdot. home of the humorless gimps.

Re:That's weird (1)

orinalcoflow (683429) | more than 6 years ago | (#21479759)

Dunt think can find it. Still think that was just a hoax directed by the goverment.

Re:That's weird (1)

Tenebrarum (887979) | more than 6 years ago | (#21479773)

Isn't there supposed to be an American flag on this side of the moon?

Nah, the wind blew it away.

Re:That's weird (1)

Ron_Fitzgerald (1101005) | more than 6 years ago | (#21479791)

Your thinking of Stage 4 where they filmed the rest of the Moon landing.

The graphics back then were terrible, weren't they?

Six of them, actually.... (1)

Ellis D. Tripp (755736) | more than 6 years ago | (#21480007)

Although the unfiltered sunlight has probably bleached them all white by now.

Re:Six of them, actually.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21480523)

So... the moon is french?

Re:That's weird (1)

schnikies79 (788746) | more than 6 years ago | (#21482343)

I've read that the first one was blown down by the Eagle lander lifting off.

Almost there (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21479633)

Laiyan went on to explain that a Chinese-made lunar lander had already been designed and built. Unfortunately, further refinements are required since the taikonaut would die from lead poisoning before reaching the Van Allen belt.

I love the comment about men going to the moon (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21479641)

China is now trying to downplay their wanting to send ppl to the moon. Basically, they talked it up, but they are finding that it is pushing the west to get back their very quick. So now, they are saying, "ah no. We no go, so you do not have to". Gut feeling is that it is best for the west to continue to go there.

43 years after USA did this (1)

peter303 (12292) | more than 6 years ago | (#21479721)

But catching up!

Re:43 years after USA did this (4, Insightful)

AsnFkr (545033) | more than 6 years ago | (#21479795)

And the US was only 5 years behind the Soviets. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Luna_3 [wikipedia.org]

Not quite right... (1)

LanMan04 (790429) | more than 6 years ago | (#21480837)

Luna 10 was the first probe of any kind to go into Lunar orbit (not just a fly-by). I'm assuming that the Chinese probe being referred to as a "satellite" indicates that it went into orbit, which Luna 3 did not. Luna 10 was the first probe to go into orbit around the moon, in 1966.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Luna_10 [wikipedia.org]

fixed that for you (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21479741)

saying they showed their nation had thrust itself into the front ranks of 1969

Why the LONG timelines? (4, Insightful)

onetwentyone (882404) | more than 6 years ago | (#21479783)

Ok, the US put a man on the moon in a really short span of time. We even got a whole flurry to repeat the trip in the following years. So why is it that we can't seem to get anything done with that level of efficiency again? Yes I know there is the lack of money which is a huge problem but you might think that NASA would spend what they could on getting someone exceedingly charismatic to work Congress for the dough.

If NASA were to start hyping themselves up again (and not relying on past glories), we could really start to see some great achievements coming out of those brilliant people again.

Which brings us to China. This new endeavor is a point of pride for the country and its government much like it was for us 40 years ago. I'm actually going to root for China in the hope that it will get we Americans to start looking back into space.

Re:Why the LONG timelines? (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21479869)

because, and try to follow along with me here:

IT DIDN'T HAPPEN!

Re:Why the LONG timelines? (5, Informative)

SailorSpork (1080153) | more than 6 years ago | (#21479989)

When we put a man on the moon, we were spurred to catch up & beat the USSR's Sputnik, which frankly shocked the crap out of the US. By 1965, Kennedy had ballooned NASA's budget from $500 million to $5.2 billion (or 5.3% of GDP), which meant that about 1 in 19ish US jobs were geared to the moon landing. Our budget as a % of GDP is back down to 0.58% of GDP. [slashdot.org] If we want to do something fast again, we'll need to pump in more money from somewhere.
 
Another problem with "going back" is that so many people worked on it that are now old or dead that we have no real working knowledge of how we did it or how to do it again (not to mention the vast tech changes), so we'd be starting over basically from scratch.

Re:Why the LONG timelines? (1)

nschubach (922175) | more than 6 years ago | (#21480893)

Your telling me that putting something on Mars is easier than the moon? I think the knowledge of placing a craft on another solar body still exists.

Actually, it is easier to go to mars, than the moo (2, Informative)

WindBourne (631190) | more than 6 years ago | (#21481225)

The reason is that once out of the earth's gravity well, it is the same diff to get to one place or another (assuming that time does not matter, such as for cargo). OTH, to land on mars, we can use the atmosphere to slow down the craft (via parachutes or even with wings). OTH, the moon will require a FULL LANDER all the way down. Of course, take off is much easier from the moon, but in terms of simply putting something on the surface, mars IS easier.

Re:Actually, it is easier to go to mars, than the (3, Interesting)

Mindwarp (15738) | more than 6 years ago | (#21481933)

"once out of the earth's gravity well, it is the same diff to get to one place or another"

A journey of a few days vs. a journey of a few weeks (insanely optimistic) to eighteen months (far more realistic.) If one of your success criteria is having live astronauts at the end of the trip then I'm putting my money on the latter being the one that's orders of magnitude harder.

"to land on mars, we can use the atmosphere to slow down the craft"

(a) Mars' atmosphere is very thin, (b) its gravity is far higher than the moon, (c) the crew capsule /landing module for any Mars mission will be far larger than that required for a Moon mission (it's got to contend with the fact that there IS an atmosphere for a start), and (d) entry speed for a Mars mission is massively higher than a Moon landing due to the fact that you have to be going so much faster just to get to Mars in any 'reasonable' time frame.

Handling a Mars orbital insertion and landing is hugely more technically challenging than a Moon landing for all of those reasons, and more. The science and engineering behind designing parachutes that could slow a capsule down to landing speeds alone is daunting. Don't forget that due to (a) they have to be enormous compared to parachutes used on the Earth, and they have to open in such a way that the mechanical stresses don't tear them or turn the capsule occupants into paté.

The Moon is easy in comparison. There's no atmosphere to worry about so the lander was delicate and above all light, and the Moon's gravity is low enough that you can gently touch down using just a single moderately powered descent engine.

Re:Actually, it is easier to go to mars, than the (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21482293)

Mod parent up anyone? PS: I don't necessarily agree with your point (d); it's entirely possible to slow the ship down before an attempted landing/orbital insertion. It may even be possible to devise some sort of a reverse gravitational slingshot effect, thus leveraging Mars' gravity to slow the craft down to a reasonable post-traveling speed.

Re:Why the LONG timelines? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21481479)

No, it's .58% of the federal budget NOT of GDP. Of the GDP, NASA's bite is even smaller. But, hey, why bother RTFA?

Re:Why the LONG timelines? (1)

UseTheSource (66510) | more than 6 years ago | (#21482145)

When we put a man on the moon, we were spurred to catch up & beat the USSR's Sputnik, which frankly shocked the crap out of the US.

Actually, there was little if any "catchup" to do. While Vanguard [wikipedia.org] was the main effort by the US at the time, despite funding cuts Explorer [wikipedia.org] was ready to go [batnet.com] months before Sputnik.

By 1965, Kennedy had ballooned NASA's budget from $500 million to $5.2 billion (or 5.3% of GDP), which meant that about 1 in 19ish US jobs were geared to the moon landing.

If anything, that was the main effect of Sputnik. It really energized the scientific and engineering community and lit a fire under our collective asses.

Re:Why the LONG timelines? (4, Interesting)

AsnFkr (545033) | more than 6 years ago | (#21479999)

1. Building public hype to go *back* to the moon is much harder than building hype to be the first to ever go.

2. No cold war. We are not currently afraid of another countries technological abilities, so we have no need to showboat ours. This was a big issue with both Congress and the public in the 60's.

3. The general public isn't interested in patriotism unless it has to do with winning a war or putting a yellow ribbon magnet on their cars next to the Dale Earnhardt memorial. And even then, most people nowadays seem to hate the current war.

4. The benefits of space development are not 100% crystal clear to the general public.

5. The first time we went to the moon that was 100% (or very close to) NASA's only objective. This means they had a larger percentage of their funding to throw in that direction. Now they have many other projects that need funding as well. In other to continue to operate these other operations it's a bit of a trade off in the time it will take to develop the new equipment for another moon shot.

Re:Why the LONG timelines? (2, Insightful)

stud9920 (236753) | more than 6 years ago | (#21480313)

2. No cold war. We are not currently afraid of another countries technological abilities, so we have no need to showboat ours. This was a big issue with both Congress and the public in the 60's.
The Boogeyman changed. Hey! I hear their is a terrorist training base on the moon !

Re:Why the LONG timelines? (1)

Flwyd (607088) | more than 6 years ago | (#21480531)

6. We've already been to the moon and collected data. There's lots we still don't know about the moon, but there's even more we don't know about Mars, Io, Titan, Alpha Centauri...

Re:Why the LONG timelines? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21480603)

+10 Troll.


3. The general public isn't interested in patriotism unless it has to do with winning a war or putting a yellow ribbon magnet on their cars next to the Dale Earnhardt memorial. And even then, most people nowadays seem to hate the current war.


The majority of Americans outside of San Francisco support winning the War and not retreating which is why the Democratic congress looses whenever they bring it up. Most Americans know that the Battle for Iraq is over even though CBS, NBC, ABC don't report it. Most Americans want the occupation and rebuilding effort in Iraq to be finished.

Manned Mission to Mars (1)

tknd (979052) | more than 6 years ago | (#21481811)

Why don't we push the bar further and start working on a manned mission to Mars? If not that then perhaps other big and useful things like a space elevator.

Re:Why the LONG timelines? (1)

lazyDog86 (1191443) | more than 6 years ago | (#21482073)

The benefits of space development are not 100% crystal clear to the general public.

The benefits of manned space flight do not appear particularly obvious to many observers, both informed and otherwise. While there is plenty of science remaining to be done in space, benefits of putting people in space seems to be pretty much in finding out the effects of spaceflight on people.

Even the general public appear to be catching on that this is a bit of a confidence scheme. Justifying science budgets with patriotism is a dangerous game.

Re:Why the LONG timelines? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21482291)

You are leaving out the most important issue, safety. If NASA in the 1960's was forced to have the same standards that we do now, there is no way that they would have gotten to the moon. Everyone in the aerospace industry (I work in the satellite business) has strict standards for the safety of the vehicle that makes it take a lot longer than the average person would thing. There is over a year of testing on every satellite that gets launched and if anything goes wrong, the problem is fixed and the testing starts over. When human life is at stake, the standards become even more strict.

Re:Why the LONG timelines? (1)

imsabbel (611519) | more than 6 years ago | (#21480229)

Well, the situation is different:
Back than, spaceflight was a) a matter of _extreme_ national pride. b) a propaganda race with the soviet uninion and c) had lots of military synergies (all the reasearch in missile technology, ect).

Just to make a bad comparison: If the money for the war in iraq would have been spend for a moon mission, we would be there now (or the next 2 years).
Just pushing 100 or 200 billions a year into it and stuff gets going.

But thats not very economic, and as there is no "real" payback, todays plans are much slower moving.

Re:Why the LONG timelines? (1)

Tablizer (95088) | more than 6 years ago | (#21480395)

So why is it that we can't seem to get anything done with that level of efficiency again?

Forget manned space-flight. Until colonies can pay for themselves, its a waste of money. Unmanned exploration is far cheaper and more exciting IMO. I'd rather see videos of the lakes of Titan up close or a submarine inside of Europa than man on Mars.

And please don't claim that manned sample collection is superior to robots. It's not for two reasons: First, one can get wider samples from robots, and second because its hard to know what you are really looking at until you dissect it in expensive labs on Earth anyhow.
                 

Re:Why the LONG timelines? (1)

T-Bone-T (1048702) | more than 6 years ago | (#21481725)

I think you got your terms switched. Your rant makes more sense if manned is replaced with unmanned and vice-versa. So what if a robot goes to Mars. That doesn't get ME really any closer to going to Mars. Human collection gathering is far superior to robotic collection. The rovers on Mars slowly drive up to a rock and take a picture. Almost 15 minutes later, scientists get a picture of the rock. They then spend a couple hours examining the picture. If they decide to take a sample, it will take another 15 minutes for the signal drill to reach the rover. A human on Mars would say,"Hey, this rock looks interesting!" and a couple minutes later at most continues searching for interesting items. Time to take a sample with a robot: hours and hours. Time for a human: minutes. Do you really think that NASA would only send people that know how to fly the spacecraft to Mars and not send any scientists or at least tell the astronauts what to look for?

Re:Why the LONG timelines? (1)

glaswegian (803339) | more than 6 years ago | (#21481095)

Better yet, why send someone to the moon? What is this person going to do there? Is it good value for money?

NASA (and other world space agencies) are actually *much more* efficient nowadays with remote exploration of the solar system. We have sent probes to Mars, Jupiter and we have even landed one on Titan (one of Saturn's moons). These probes can send back images, take & analyze samples and, most importantly, they cost a fraction of a similar manned mission. They don't ask to come back to Earth and don't care if the voyage is long or bumpy.

The main driver for future manned missions to the moon will be commercial rather than scientific, for space tourism and exploitation of the moon's resources. There are more cost efficient and scientifically rewarding missions than sending someone to bring back a piece of moon rock.

Re:Why the LONG timelines? (1)

Reality Master 101 (179095) | more than 6 years ago | (#21481253)

So why is it that we can't seem to get anything done with that level of efficiency again?

What makes you think it was done efficiently? It was done basically by throwing an enormous amount of money at the problem. All respect to the engineers who made it happen, but it was NOT done inexpensively or efficiently.

I'm actually going to root for China in the hope that it will get we Americans to start looking back into space.

Some people keep looking for a space race to happen again, but it never will. Who cares if the Chinese go to the moon again? Already been there, done that. The future of space is private space travel, not government largess.

Congrats to Chinese who devote to their whole life (1)

newjerseyer (972293) | more than 6 years ago | (#21479895)

Congradulations! Science has no political boundaries. My father spend at least 40 year for Chinese space area. Wei Xiang

wait.. (1)

moogied (1175879) | more than 6 years ago | (#21479947)

Isn't that Niel Goldman's face??

ain't that hard... (4, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21479953)

Well going on the moon shouldn't be to hard for China, all they have to do is put a chinese over a chinese over a chinese over a ...

Disappointed (3, Funny)

Vampyre_Dark (630787) | more than 6 years ago | (#21479981)

I'm disappointed that the images aren't censored.

Dont forget... (1)

nozzo (851371) | more than 6 years ago | (#21479993)

that we all helped pay for this by purchasing endless amounts of plastic tat and other cheap Chinese goods. So let's all take pride in those moon shots.

China Looking For A Deep Crater (1)

Skeetskeetskeet (906997) | more than 6 years ago | (#21480013)

To jettison its lead painted toys into.

Oblig. (0, Offtopic)

truthsearch (249536) | more than 6 years ago | (#21480227)

Bender: Fine. I'll go build my own lunar lander! With blackjack! And hookers! In fact, forget the lunar lander! And the blackjack! Ah, screw the whole thing.

Oops, wrong thread....

Warning (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21480347)

Don't lick these pictures, they might contain lead.

Confused (5, Insightful)

lightsaber777 (920815) | more than 6 years ago | (#21480491)

We are sending satellites to the far reaches of the solar system and beyond. We have rovers exploring Mars as we speak, which send back spectacular pictures and have performed far beyond the original specifications. We have a telescope in space that monitors distant galaxies. We have intercepted and collected samples from a comet. I fail to see why it is big news when the Chinese replicate a feat that was done nearly half a century ago by two other countries, one of which has sent humans there multiple times using computers less powerful than some people's cell phones. Are they also going to tell their people they were the first ones there and everything else is "Capitalist Propaganda"?

Re:Confused (3, Informative)

Quiet_Desperation (858215) | more than 6 years ago | (#21480585)

And a successful lander on fricken' Titan. Everyone seems to forget that one, which I personally think kicks the ass of every other space endeavor out there. That was international cooperation at its best: American spacecraft and ESA lander.

Re:Confused (1)

lightsaber777 (920815) | more than 6 years ago | (#21480943)

Yup I forgot about that one. I think the comet is pretty impressive as well if not one of the most impressive feats. It's like taking a shot at a dime from 10 miles away.

Re:Confused (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21480665)

I was impressed when my child took his first step, even though I have been doing the exact same thing for over 30 years.

I'm not sure that it's realistic to expect China to send a man on Mars before gaining enough space travel experience. The way I look at it, their lunar satelite could either have failed or succeeded. It worked, so they celebrate. Isn't that fair enough? Or is it "communist propaganda" ?

Re:Confused (1)

lightsaber777 (920815) | more than 6 years ago | (#21480867)

A good point but it's not quite the same thing. They are considered one of the most powerful nations in the world. Celebrating over this is like a 30 year old celebrating their first steps or learning to use the toilet. Now if Zimbabwe makes it to the moon, that would be impressive.

Re:Confused (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21482039)

Yes, when they image the "real" landing sites in Arizona.

Re:Confused (1)

turgid (580780) | more than 6 years ago | (#21482121)

I fail to see why it is big news when the Chinese replicate a feat that was done nearly half a century ago by two other countries

It's big news because it's a sign of the times.

Rather than these things being the rare and exclusive preserve of the richest country in the world and it's arch-rival, this level of technological achievement is now becoming common place.

Hopefully, this is the beginning of a new era in human history, where scientific exploration of space is routine for most countries, but I haven't had my pills today.

Re:Confused (3, Insightful)

cozziewozzie (344246) | more than 6 years ago | (#21482189)

The fact that the US, Europe and the USSR have done it countless times and China hasn't is exactly the reason why this is seen as important news.

It means that China is catching up very fast with the other space powers. It means China is capable of launching satelites without help, which has military consequences.

It means their technology is catching up with the West's, which has all sorts of impact on the society. Remember the outsourcing woes where cheap jobs are lost to the third world? If China becomes a technology superpower instead of just a cheap labour superpower, this will have great economic consequences. These projects clearly show that there are people in there capable of great technological feats.

It also opens possibilities for scientific cooperation in the future, like the one between the NASA and the ESA.

It could also affect the funding of NASA, ESA, etc, more than their own (interesting and scientifically relevant) missions can.

There are many reasons why this is interesting. For one, when the first lunar missions were taking place, China was a mostly illiterate country barely subsisting on farming, with no industry to speak of. Now they're sending people into space. There is a new kid on the block, and that is interesting.

Well (0, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21480545)

Well, I see the comments section for this story has turned into 'let's laugh at the foreign people' central.

Where the fuck are you guys when the stories about the one-laptop-per-child plan roll in?

Re:Well (1)

lightsaber777 (920815) | more than 6 years ago | (#21481825)

We're not laughing at foreigners... we're laughing at the big deal they are making of it. Once the original feat has been accomplished, it's not much reason for news anymore. Does anyone notice when someone runs a 4:00 mile, climbs Mt. Everest, or circumnavigates the globe? No, they've been done before, so no one cares. This has been done before, several times... are we supposed to give them a golf clap and throw a party to celebrate that they are 40 years behind?

Start the 10 year countdown to impact...incoming (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21480615)

All right, who gave the Chinese a copy of the "Moon is Harsh Mistress". In 10 years they won't need an Air Force, just a moon rock chucker.

Article is a little hypocritical (1)

Orig_Club_Soda (983823) | more than 6 years ago | (#21480991)

In the US and USSR people were poor when we went to the moon. I know the Democrats say that crap in US whenever we do something like that. They always claim "what about the poor people?" Which really means "what do I get out of it." Democrats don't understand the number of jobs and the great technology that come from these projects.

Re:Article is a little hypocritical (1)

Ceres54 (609053) | more than 6 years ago | (#21481971)

Yes, well... I also thought the note about the millions of poor in China was a bit misplaced in an article like this, but that was because I was unable to detect the presence of slimy technology hating Democrats behind it. It must be that they (the STHDs) are conflicted. Since they hate America they love to see rival countries succeed, but because they have a knee-jerk bleeding-heart-liberal reaction, they feel they must mention the poor. I just couldn't see the evil/liberal purpose lurking behind the article.

Congratulations on your greater objective powers.

Re:Article is a little hypocritical (1)

Serge_Tomiko (1178965) | more than 6 years ago | (#21481987)

People with jobs don't tend to vote for democrats. They are the party of the poor who want/need public assistance, and of the rich who are terrified of the masses realizing paying interest on money the government creates out of think air is bullshit.

Re:Article is a little hypocritical (1)

lightsaber777 (920815) | more than 6 years ago | (#21482285)

Slight correction... they are a party of rich people who fool poor people into thinking they will get help, environmentalists into believing they care about the environment, union workers into thinking their jobs won't get shipped out of the country, and intellectuals into believing they are led by people smarter than them.

That's in opposition to Republicans who fool Christians into thinking they believe the same things, pro-lifers into thinking they are going to do something about abortion, and businessmen into thinking their taxes will be cut, and taxpayers into believing that government spending will be reduced.

The only real thing a politician believes in is his or her need for more power. The only difference between a Democrat and a Republican is the groups and ideals they use to get that power.

Good job slashdot.. (0)

pablo_max (626328) | more than 6 years ago | (#21481053)

First, I would like to point out that I am happy to see a lack of knee-jerk reactions to this news. By that I mean the typical, "anything foreign is crap and evil" posting that sometimes crop up around here. Secondly, I also hope that this puts some focus behind our own space program. Another poster mentioned that way back when, when the US went to the moon, NASA was solely focused on the task and thus was able to complete it in a reasonable amount of time. Over the years, NASA has no single goal, no drive and no focus. I believe that the individual employees at NASA are motivated and clever people who happed to work for a employer with no direction. Just imagine if your company had no plan at all, nothing you were trying to do, just several pet projects to work on and only a small portion of your companies monies going to it. You would be out of business in no time. Why should NASA be different? I am not saying NASA should have only 1 goal. I am saying that NASA should be linear. Put the resources behind a large goal and achieve it, then just keep a smaller amount of money there to maintain it while diverting the main bulk of the funding to the next major goal. Anyhow NASA..I say do that instead of what you are doing, since what you do now isnt working. Oh....and I say.. good job China. You have come a long way.

American Moon Landing Religion (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21481257)

I'm still highly doubtful that anybody's been to the moon yet. If it was so easy to do on the first try, and in multiple subsequent trips by the U.S., then the U.S. should have been able to do the same thing by now, using technology that's better and cheaper than it was then. Don't give me some crap about inflation affecting costs. A 1960's radio, tv or computer costs nothing in today's dollars, and yet a 1960's moon lander is impossible to make. If the 60's-70's models were so good, why not make another one? Have you ever looked at pictures of the first moon lander? Do you actually believe it was capable of taking off from the moon once it got there? And why is it they never use the most powerful telescopes to show the landing site on the moon? I think this sort of belief in the moon landings is about as ridiculous as belief in religion. I'm not writing this as a troll, these are my actual thoughts on this and I'm wondering how many of you share these doubts...

OK, I'll bite... (1)

mangu (126918) | more than 6 years ago | (#21481871)

If it was so easy to do on the first try, and in multiple subsequent trips by the U.S., then the U.S. should have been able to do the same thing by now, using technology that's better and cheaper than it was then


In other news, people reached the deepest point in the ocean [wikipedia.org] in 1960, never to return again. The craft they used [wikipedia.org] could be replicated today, but why? The moon and the Mariana trench are places, like the top of the Everest, where people go because it's there. People revisit the Everest because it's cheap enough to be done by hobbyists, or by people with some sort of sponsor. Reaching the moon would be too expensive for a hobbyist or someone writing a National Geographic article.


There's no motivation to return to the moon, there's no economic return, and no scientific studies that cannot be done cheaper in other ways. Until we find something that cannot be done on earth cheaper, no one will build a moon colony.


A 1960's radio, tv or computer costs nothing in today's dollars, and yet a 1960's moon lander is impossible to make


The electronics in the Apollo project would be ridiculously cheap today, compared to the 1960s, but the same cannot be said of the titanium, stainless steel, liquid hydrogen, or so many other exotic materials used. Not to mention that most of the cost in a space mission is labor, and an engineer's salary is much more today than the $6000/year or so they got in 1969.


Have you ever looked at pictures of the first moon lander? Do you actually believe it was capable of taking off from the moon once it got there?


What do the pictures of the lunar lander prove to you? Are you such a capable engineer that you can state flatly that it couldn't take off from the moon just by looking at pictures of it? I have seen more detailed descriptions than outside pictures, and it seems quite able to perform as stated.


And why is it they never use the most powerful telescopes to show the landing site on the moon?


What for? Why would you believe in such a photograph, if you don't believe in the photographs they brought back from the moon itself? You would claim any photograph taken by a telescope is a fake anyway. No one will waste valuable telescope time just to try to satisfy people like you.


I think this sort of belief in the moon landings is about as ridiculous as belief in religion


And I think that belief that the moon landings were faked is more ridiculous than belief in religion. Because belief in religion is motivated by one of the strongest instincts we have: fear of death. Most of us aren't willing to accept that at some time we just cease to exist and we want to believe in something that remains after we die. OTOH, belief that moon landings were faked is based just on envy, the unwillingness to accept that some people can be more intelligent and more persistent than we are, that they can work together to accomplish a task that seems so difficult.

Re:American Moon Landing Religion (1)

lightsaber777 (920815) | more than 6 years ago | (#21482063)

What do you make of the Mars rovers? Real? Computer generated? If it was fake in the first place, why go back? If it was just to intimidate the USSR with regard to our missile technology, that's a stupid plan since they beat us there using unmanned spacecraft.

What evidence would make you believe we went there and can you think of a good reason for using NASA resources, which probably bill somewhere in the $200/hr range, to get you the evidence you desire?

Conspiracy theory (1)

binaryartist (1172973) | more than 6 years ago | (#21481823)

Did any other country(like china, japan) find evidence of US having landed in moon? I was just wondering about conspiracy theory that US never landed on moon.

Tell Bush that... (1, Flamebait)

SirKron (112214) | more than 6 years ago | (#21481921)

Tell Bush that Osama is on the moon with WMDs. We will get there again.

Re:Tell Bush that... (1)

ImpShial (1045486) | more than 6 years ago | (#21482061)

Tell Cheney that Oil is on the moon and it can be rebuilt by his buddies.

There. Fixed that for you.

WOW - going to the MOON?? (1)

HomeLights (1097581) | more than 6 years ago | (#21481985)

What a great idea! Let's land a man on the moon! Too bad we didn't think of this 40 years ago...oh wait WE DID! Welcome to the 1960's China! Glad you caught up to us. Maybe if you switch gears really quickly, you can invent the VW Beetle bus too. How about a concert in on some farmland in New York?

I'm not sure if the West is the primary comparison (1)

Fantastic Lad (198284) | more than 6 years ago | (#21482069)

I think there might be more competitive spirit strung in tension between China and Japan.

The Chinese and the Japanese have quite the long-time rivalry. I suspect that the hi-def pictures Japan's lunar orbiter sent home a few weeks back did not go without notice in China. What a crummy way to have the wind taken out of China's sails barely a month before the completion of their own lunar mission. --And the political models of each country would certainly support another space race.

I'd be excited to see some sort of space exploration competition between Communist China and Democratic (sic) Japan start to kindle. That'd be really fun in a Game On kind of way.

I wonder if the first Asian to walk on the moon will be wearing a space suit or a, ahem, mobile suit.


-FL

To to moon...or bust! (1)

HomeLights (1097581) | more than 6 years ago | (#21482151)

That image from China - if you look closley at the bottom-right, doesn't have a Google Earth logo? LOL :--) Nice try China. Stick to making plates and teacups. Maybe you can make a lander from all of the toys being sent back to you. Name suggestion - call your moon lander "The pb Express" - for those without chemistry knowledge, 'pb' is the atomic symbol for Lead.
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