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The Space Race is back....China eyes 2017 moon landing


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http://www.cnn.com/2005/TECH/space/11/04/china.moon.reut/index.html

China eyes 2017 moon landing

BEIJING, China (Reuters) -- China, which launched its first manned space mission just two years ago, plans to put a man on the moon around 2017 and investigate what may be the perfect source of fuel, a newspaper reported on Friday.

Two Chinese astronauts orbited Earth for five days last month in the Shenzhou VI and China was now developing new craft up to the Shenzhou X, eyeing a permanent space station and an eventual moon mission, state media said this week.

"China will make a manned moon landing at a proper time, around 2017," leading scientist Ouyang Ziyuan was quoted by the Southern Metropolis News as saying.

The project also includes setting up a moon-based astronomical telescope, measuring the thickness of the moon's soil and the amount of helium-3 on the moon -- an element some researchers say is a perfect, non-polluting fuel source.

Some scientists believe there is enough helium-3 on the moon to power the world for thousands of years.

"We will provide the most reliable report on helium-3 to mankind," Ouyang said.

The United States unveiled a $104 billion plan in September to return Americans to the moon by 2018. Its Apollo program carried the first humans to the moon in 1969.

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. (Full story)

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.

Shall we bump it up to 2016 now? ;)

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Note to America: Go to Mars. Go directly to Mars. Do not pass Go.

Signed,

- Common Sense.

exactly. i can't believe they went to the moon using the power of a texas intruments TI-82 and now they can't figure it out? :whoknows: i heard some bs about them losing the plans for rockets and all kinda of crap. i wouldn't imagine that telemtry and basic "how to get there" is the problem, i think budgets and reluctantcy to overbuild for saftey are the major concerns.

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Note to America: Go to Mars. Go directly to Mars. Do not pass Go.

Signed,

- Common Sense.

Me, what I'd rather see is a permanant lunar base. That would give us part of the "bootstraps" needed for permanent space colonization.

I'd rather spend the money on something that (directly) adds to our capabilities, rather than the classic definition of a tourist. (Someone who drives for 5 days to take a picture of himself standing next to his car.)

I believe I've mentioned it (about 100 times) before. Pays for itself in 13 years. Complete (US) energy independance in 15 years. Meeting the energy needs of the world, 19 years. Zero polution. Zero waste products (other than heat, which we can deal with.)

I'd vote for Hillary if I thought she'd do it.

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Me, what I'd rather see is a permanant lunar base. That would give us part of the "bootstraps" needed for permanent space colonization.

I'd rather spend the money on something that (directly) adds to our capabilities, rather than the classic definition of a tourist. (Someone who drives for 5 days to take a picture of himself standing next to his car.)

I believe I've mentioned it (about 100 times) before. Pays for itself in 13 years. Complete (US) energy independance in 15 years. Meeting the energy needs of the world, 19 years. Zero polution. Zero waste products (other than heat, which we can deal with.)

I'd vote for Hillary if I thought she'd do it.

That would be awesome. I think it's a great idea. Are you running for anything anytime soon?

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If ten years of probe-and-lander research on the Moon, coupled with independent and comprehensive financial analysis, made it crystal clear that the Moon energy gambit would be a success, then I'd be all in favor of it. A twenty year financial commitment for decades of power would be well worth it, so long as the engineering was fit for 200 years of service (another unknown at this time) and there was some way to guard our new single-source energy supply against sabotage in the event of conflict (a HUGE issue).

Until that type of conclusive analysis is available -- and currently, it's not even close -- it remains a pipe dream.

If a space elevator proves effective, it would prove essential to sending to the Moon the thousands of tons of material necessary just to begin such a project. Unfortunately that's decades away at the very least, and the number of launches to get all the stuff to the Moon using any other known or imagined system would be ungodly.

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Well, since you asked, (Aha! I knew I could sucker someone into lending me a soapbox.) :)

(To save typing, and save bandwidth for people who've read it before, here's my previous (I think, my first) post on the subject.

I'll simply repeat: We could be completely energy independant, right now, if we'd started back in the Reagan days. In fact, we could be supplying electricity to China. And the project would've paid for itself already.

But it takes a big commitment.

My perspective, though, is that I'd rather go into defecit spending on a project that has the ability to pay the money back, over defecit spending for the purpose of creating yet another entitlement that will only result in the creation of a new special interest group that will demand that we spend more money, next year.

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If ten years of probe-and-lander research on the Moon, coupled with independent and comprehensive financial analysis, made it crystal clear that the Moon energy gambit would be a success, then I'd be all in favor of it. A twenty year financial commitment for decades of power would be well worth it, so long as the engineering was fit for 200 years of service (another unknown at this time) and there was some way to guard our new single-source energy supply against sabotage in the event of conflict (a HUGE issue).

Until that type of conclusive analysis is available -- and currently, it's not even close -- it remains a pipe dream.

So, your standard of proof is that nothing less than a decade of research, guaranteeing function, profit, and 200 years of maintenance-free service, is the only acceptable level of feasability?

Just out of curiosity, what kind of car do you drive? Do you have any investments? Who made your house?

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So, your standard of proof is that nothing less than a decade of research, guaranteeing function, profit, and 200 years of maintenance-free service, is the only acceptable level of feasability?

It's called minimal due diligence. Turns out everyone doing it these days when they embark on trillion-dollar gambles. It's the latest thing.

By the way, if you think a minimum responsible standard for a feasibility would be less than what I've listed, maybe you already live on the Moon. ;)

Just out of curiosity, what kind of car do you drive? Do you have any investments? Who made your house?

YOU: I'd like to sell you a trillion-dollar car built out of Moon dust.

ME: Uh-huh.

YOU: It's powered by a microwave beam from the Moon.

ME: Please continue.

YOU: It flies through space. You can live in it. More of a space Winnebago, really.

ME: Interesting. Please show me well-supported, hard numbers suggesting that it works and is worth my money.

YOU: That's completely unreasonable. Something is terribly wrong with you.

ME: Okay, no sale.

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exactly. i can't believe they went to the moon using the power of a texas intruments TI-82 and now they can't figure it out? :whoknows: i heard some bs about them losing the plans for rockets and all kinda of crap. i wouldn't imagine that telemtry and basic "how to get there" is the problem, i think budgets and reluctantcy to overbuild for saftey are the major concerns.

We never landed on the moon.

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It's called minimal due diligence. Turns out everyone doing it these days when they embark on trillion-dollar gambles. It's the latest thing.

Unless, of course, the "trillion-dollar gamble" is a war. Or a new addition to Medicaire. Or a plan to privatise Social Security. Or a tax cut.

Then it's suffeciant to wave a "study" in which even the people who wrote the study say the numbers are BS (and immediatly get fired), and in which you're even misquoting the study.

By the way, if you think a minimum responsible standard for a feasibility would be less than what I've listed, maybe you already live on the Moon. ;)

Just out of curiosity, could you point me at the ten-year feasability study that was done for Project Apollo? How about for the steam locomotive? Or the airplane? Shure glad we spent ten years studying whether communication satelites would work. (And the requirement that they all had to be maintenance free for 200 years has really helped, too.)

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It's called minimal due diligence. Turns out everyone doing it these days when they embark on trillion-dollar gambles. It's the latest thing.

By the way, if you think a minimum responsible standard for a feasibility would be less than what I've listed, maybe you already live on the Moon. ;)

YOU: I'd like to sell you a trillion-dollar car built out of Moon dust.

ME: Uh-huh.

YOU: It's powered by a microwave beam from the Moon.

ME: Please continue.

YOU: It flies through space. You can live in it. More of a space Winnebago, really.

ME: Interesting. Please show me well-supported, hard numbers suggesting that it works and is worth my money.

YOU: That's completely unreasonable. Something is terribly wrong with you.

ME: Okay, no sale.

people have already crunched the numbers and the techonology already exists. the only way to get well supported data would be to actually do it. the only thing i'm worried about is how you build a satellite from lunar rock/dirt and the heat associated with beaming microwaves to earth.

obviously its going to take some foresight and guts to fund this project. however if we really wanted to we could show a greater committement to solar/hydro/wind electricty on earth.

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Now, I'll readily admit that if your goal is space colonization, (and mine is), then just copying Apollo really won't cut it. There are some things that would really help make the job both easier and safer.

I think something we need is robot-piloted spacecraft. When we ground the shuttles, that's how the Russians keep the station supplied. The shuttle may be bigger and more glamorous, but the 20-year-old Russian supply technology is more reliable.

And simply from a payload standpoint: To just pull an example out of (not there!) thin air: Take a shuttle. Remove the entire crew compartment, and all of the life support, and replace it with a computer that's smart enough (with ground support) to dock with the space station. How much do you think you can increase the payload by?

To me, if you want to build a permanent lunar base (and I do), then a technology you need to at least aim for is an unmanned craft that's able to land, say, a standard cargo container, loaded, on a pre-selected spot. (Maybe you need to first land some kind of beacon that later flights can home in on.)

I think one of your first payloads for this system will be to land a remote-controlled buldozer that's able to move a cargo container. (You can ship the buldozer in a "garage" that has enough solar cells to recharge the 'dozer's batteries.)

But I, at least, can't really visualise another way to start a lunar colony that to use pre-made housing modules, with the bulldozer at least getting them close enough together so that the astronauts, when they arrive, can link them together. (If the robot can plug them into each other, and they can then report back that the module is habitable before the astronauts launch, then that'd be even better.) Let's face it: Any permanent lunar base, if nothing else, is going to need to get all of it's supplies shipped up from Earth, and say, a month's worth of air, water, and MREs for two people isn't exactly trivial. (If you can ship all of that inside something that can be attached to the base to expand it, then that's even better.)

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Unless, of course, the "trillion-dollar gamble" is a war.

I see. So by your own admission, your ideas for permanent colonization of space and Moon power are about as well-supported as our current war.

Well played, amigo. :doh:

Just out of curiosity, could you point me at the ten-year feasability study that was done for Project Apollo?

Just out of curiosity, do you actually believe that serious, independent study of a potential Moon program started after Kennedy's announcement, rather than years before? And who, exactly, is your modern-day von Braun, without whose visionary genius -- not to mention previous work building supersonic death machines in Nazi Germany -- the Moon shot wouldn't have had a prayer?

And what current threat to the United States has stepped in to replace the Communist hammer and sickle, forcing us to lurch recklessly forward in the first place without regard for the need for basic pre-mission validation? We have fewer immediate space-solvable threats today than we had in the 1960s.

How about for the steam locomotive?

Developed incrementally using decades of experience in metalworking, thermodynamics, precision engineering and other technologies.

Or the airplane?

Developed incrementally using decades of experience and research in aerodynamics, controls and propulsion. Propulsion which, by the way, had its roots in the steam locomotive development of 100 years previous.

The Wright Brothers alone did four years of research leading up to their first successful powered flight. And that was on the backs of men with names like Cayley and Langley, some of whom preceded them by decades. These are names you really should know if you're a disciple of space technology and history.

In keeping with your examples, I'd love to see your plan to develop Moon power incrementally. :laugh:

Shure glad we spent ten years studying whether communication satelites would work.

We spent years doing the legwork for comsats before the first one went up, despite the fact that a failed first satellite would have cost the country only a few million bucks. That's less than nothing in space terms, and yet we did our homework first. What would a failed Man On The Moon Brand Power Station cost?

The fact that you weren't there to watch scientists and engineers devote their lives and careers to the fundamental research enabling transportation and space tech doesn't mean you have the magical ability to wave your arms and magically disavow their hard work and sacrifice. You have some nerve even dipping a toe into that revisionist historian's tepid pool.

Backtrack on your poor choice of rhetoric all you like, but I hope people reading your post realize what a low opinion you must have of the men and women who experimented, sacrificed and died in decades-long pursuits of human flight and reliable steam locomotives. How many of them would have welcomed the opportunity to buy their lives back in return for waiting a few months or years for the towering luxury of actual scientific research to guide their efforts? They'd see where we are today and realize that they would have been worth far more alive than dead, even if it meant locomotives took a couple more years to become viable. You'd find precious few of those heroes and martyrs who would turn their backs on that deal.

Moon mining vs. trains? Only a blind fanatic would make such absurd comparisons.

You won't admit it because you basically don't want to see it, but the fact is nobody really knows what it would take or how much it would cost to put people on the Moon permanently -- or even what we could reasonably hope to achieve by doing it! This notion that some Princeton professor got it all neatly worked out and "proved" that it can be done efficiently with low risk and an all-but-guaranteed payoff is pure bunk, smacking of the same kind of blind, lemming-like, lockstepped pseudotechnologist hackery that sold Doctor Ruthnik's Health Elixir to ignorant housewives from the deck of an oxcart in the late 1800s.

NOW, if you actually wanted to use a salient example for your argument, you might try the Manhattan Project, to date still the most elaborate, civilization-changing, and ambitious fundamental research and engineering project ever undertaken by humankind. That effort was driven by pure speculation, inspired but untested insights, and in some cases design-on-the-fly shots from the blue which could only have been achieved by the international group of geniuses who worked on the Project. The first working bomb was detonated in 1945 -- only 8 years after fission was positively demonstrated in the lab. There was obviously no comprehensive feasibility study done there.

And why did our severely resource-constrained country, fighting two wars in opposite oceans, drop the modern equivalent of about $20 billion into a completely untested technology program without first commissioning a full study on its risks and benefits?

Here's a clue from our friend the risk analyst:

-----

Risk = [Magnitude of consequence to US]*[Probability of occurrence]

[Magnitude of consequence to US] = [Result if Germany gets the bomb first]

Therefore, [Magnitude of consequence to US] = Infinity

So it doesn't matter how small the probability is that Germany gets the bomb first. In fact, the potential benefit of a working bomb doesn't really even matter in that equation. You throw tens of billions at the problem of building the world-ender, and either you get it before the bad guy gets it and uses it to completely destroy you, or you demonstrate that it can't be done and therefore isn't a threat. Either way, you do everything you can to avert the infinite-magnitude catastrophe of a Nazi A-bomb.

-----

Can you provide a similarly dire risk analysis equation for the US' current situation? (Hint: The correct answer is no.)

So you do the basic feasibility first. End. Of. Story.

Let's not be so selfish as to assume all these great things have to happen in our own lifetimes. It should be enough that we're laying the groundwork for future generations to responsibly explore space.

Other quotes I found humorous:

the only thing i'm worried about is how you build a satellite from lunar rock/dirt

Yeah, gee, that's kind of a problem, isn't it? But I'm sure that's not one of the basic justifications for a permanent Moon base, is it?

Oh wait, it is? Yeah, I guess I'd be worried about that, too.

if we really wanted to we could show a greater committement to solar/hydro/wind electricty on earth

Agreed!

Of course, discarded solar cells contain all kinds of enviro-unfriendly substances, hydro alters ecosystems and harms little fish, and wind kills birds. Sometimes the environmental lobby on Earth makes Moon power look downright reasonable.

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Shure glad we spent ten years studying whether communication satelites would work. (And the requirement that they all had to be maintenance free for 200 years has really helped, too.)

Huh? Where did the 200 years come from? Or is that sarcasm? :)

:logo:

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