Author Topic: China successfully soft-lands probe on the moon  (Read 346 times)

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Offline mystery-ak

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China successfully soft-lands probe on the moon
« on: December 14, 2013, 09:43:43 AM »
http://hosted.ap.org/dynamic/stories/A/AS_CHINA_SPACE?SITE=AP&SECTION=HOME&TEMPLATE=DEFAULT&CTIME=2013-12-14-08-20-17


Dec 14, 9:15 AM EST

China successfully soft-lands probe on the moon

By LOUISE WATT
Associated Press

 BEIJING (AP) -- China on Saturday successfully carried out the world's first soft landing of a space probe on the moon in nearly four decades, the next stage in an ambitious space program that aims to eventually have a Chinese astronaut set foot on the moon.

The unmanned Chang'e 3 lander, named after a mythical Chinese goddess of the moon, touched down on Earth's nearest neighbor following a 12-minute landing process.

The lander carried a six-wheeled moon rover called "Yutu," or "Jade Rabbit," the goddess' pet. After touching down Saturday evening on a fairly flat, Earth-facing part of the moon, the rover was slated to separate from the Chang'e eight hours after landing and embark on a three-month scientific exploration.

China's space program is an enormous source of pride for the country, the third to carry out a lunar soft landing after the United States and the former Soviet Union. The last one was by the Soviet Union in 1976.

"It's still a significant technological challenge to land on another world," said Peter Bond, consultant editor for Jane's Space Systems and Industry. "Especially somewhere like the moon, which doesn't have an atmosphere so you can't use parachutes or anything like that. You have to use rocket motors for the descent and you have to make sure you go down at the right angle and the right rate of descent and you don't end up in a crater on top of a large rock."

State-run China Central Television showed a computer-generated image of the Chang'e 3 lander's path as it approached the surface of the moon, explaining that for about a 12-minute landing period it would have no contact with Earth. As it was just hundreds of meters (yards) away, the lander's camera broadcast images of the moon's surface.

The Chang'e 3's solar panels, which are used to absorb sunlight to generate power, opened soon after the landing. The Chang'e 3 will set up antennae that will transmit pictures back to Earth.

A soft landing does not damage the craft and the equipment it carries. An earlier Chinese craft orbited and collected data before intentionally crash-landing on the moon.

The Chang'e mission blasted off from southwest China on Dec. 2 on a Long March-3B carrier rocket.

China's military-backed space program has made methodical progress in a relatively short time, although it lags far behind the United States and Russia in technology and experience.

China sent its first astronaut into space in 2003, becoming the third nation after Russia and the United States to achieve manned space travel independently. In 2006, it sent its first probe to the moon. China plans to open a space station around 2020 and send an astronaut to the moon after that.

"They are taking their time with getting to know about how to fly humans into space, how to build space stations ... how to explore the solar system, especially the moon and Mars," Bond said. "They are making good strides, and I think over the next 10, 20 years they'll certainly be rivaling Russia and America in this area and maybe overtaking them in some areas."

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Offline EC

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Re: China successfully soft-lands probe on the moon
« Reply #1 on: December 14, 2013, 10:02:19 AM »
On the one hand - it's China doing this. Not good, especially given their goal of establishing a permanent colony on the Moon. They have been practicing, as well. Much of the recent engineering works in China, Bejing especially, has been concentrating on underground spaces.

On the other hand - the more space capability the human race has, the better. Just wish it was in safer hands. Everyone laughed at Newt for suggesting a lunar colony. He wasn't being idealistic, or trying to reignite the spirit of America. Someone is going to do it, and whoever does it first has a permanent, self sufficient launch pad to hold the rest of the world hostage with, if they are so inclined.

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Offline Relic

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Re: China successfully soft-lands probe on the moon
« Reply #2 on: December 14, 2013, 12:32:24 PM »
On the one hand - it's China doing this. Not good, especially given their goal of establishing a permanent colony on the Moon. They have been practicing, as well. Much of the recent engineering works in China, Bejing especially, has been concentrating on underground spaces.

On the other hand - the more space capability the human race has, the better. Just wish it was in safer hands. Everyone laughed at Newt for suggesting a lunar colony. He wasn't being idealistic, or trying to reignite the spirit of America. Someone is going to do it, and whoever does it first has a permanent, self sufficient launch pad to hold the rest of the world hostage with, if they are so inclined.

America has dropped the ball. Americans, in general, have no drive, no appetite for risk, and no ability to deal with adversity. Americans simply want smart phones and the associated internet distractions, places to dine out on a daily basis, and television programs to appeal to their base instincts.

Good for China. China is ready to fill the void left by American lack of interest and unwillingness to lead and take challenges. This will be the Chinese century. America is a dead man walking.

Offline EC

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Re: China successfully soft-lands probe on the moon
« Reply #3 on: December 14, 2013, 12:41:28 PM »
I so wish I could argue with you, but I can not.  **nononono*

There is still a lot of "Get up and go!" in the USA. Unfortunately it seems to be split between ones too young to have any effect and ones too old to have the energy now. The vast middle is as you described.

The danger is in the position. Heinlein wrote about it well, in "The Moon is a Harsh Mistress." They'll be at the top of a deep well. The rest of us will be at the bottom. We can throw pebbles at them. They can squish us using our own gravity against us.

Any currently build-able linear accelerator is quite easily able to lob a rock out of the Moon's gravitational field and onto pretty much any square centimeter on Earth. Who needs nukes when you have an infinite supply of rocks and unlimited energy to power your industry and your launcher?
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Offline Relic

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Re: China successfully soft-lands probe on the moon
« Reply #4 on: December 14, 2013, 01:00:24 PM »
I so wish I could argue with you, but I can not.  **nononono*

I wish you could too.

Chinese domination is coming, like it or not. I see the naysayers publish "China will fail because ... " on a routine basis and I just laugh. China is aggressive and hungry. Not to mention they have a high male to female ratio which leads to a very aggressive, hard edged society. I don't know if the Chinese will be benevolent masters, or malevolent rulers, but it doesn't matter, they are taking their place at the top.

I generalized my statement, because there are Americans with drive, but they are the minority, and the powers that be seek to crush such souls.

Offline Oceander

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Re: China successfully soft-lands probe on the moon
« Reply #5 on: December 15, 2013, 11:20:19 AM »
I so wish I could argue with you, but I can not.  **nononono*

There is still a lot of "Get up and go!" in the USA. Unfortunately it seems to be split between ones too young to have any effect and ones too old to have the energy now. The vast middle is as you described.

The danger is in the position. Heinlein wrote about it well, in "The Moon is a Harsh Mistress." They'll be at the top of a deep well. The rest of us will be at the bottom. We can throw pebbles at them. They can squish us using our own gravity against us.

Any currently build-able linear accelerator is quite easily able to lob a rock out of the Moon's gravitational field and onto pretty much any square centimeter on Earth. Who needs nukes when you have an infinite supply of rocks and unlimited energy to power your industry and your launcher?


Lobbing objects similar to the Tunguska object would be even more catastrophic.  Lob a few tens of those across the US and you'd achieve results similar to airbursting many, many nukes.  The Chinese would then be able to move into the (former) U.S. with relative ease, little opposition, and no fear of radiation, to give their growing billions room to expand.  Lebensraum on steroids.
« Last Edit: December 15, 2013, 11:21:38 AM by Oceander »


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