back to article China confirms plans for first Moon visit later this year

China has confirmed it is on track to land a rover on the Moon later this year to scoot across the surface analyzing dust and rock samples. "Chang'e-3 has officially entered its launch stage, following its research and manufacture period," reports the official Chinese news agency Xinhua. The Chang'e-3 probe, first revealed …

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    1. gregzeng
      Linux

      Re: So the first man on the moon could be Chinese then.

      According to traditional & well known Chinese folk law, the first person in the moon is a Chinese woman. I have English as my first & only language. Perhaps others here might fill in the missing facts.

  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    If the taikonauts* had to pay for their own space food

    Would that make a moon base the 1st chinese restaurant in space?

    * Chinese astronauts

    1. No, I will not fix your computer
      Thumb Up

      If the takeoutonauts* had to pay for their own space food

      * Chinese takeaway astronauts

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Heading out into the Solar System.?

    Err... It started in the Solar System and is still in it.

    They could have written: ... heading off across/through the Solar System.

    Sorry for being picky.

    1. Don Jefe
      Happy

      Re: Heading out into the Solar System.?

      Eh... When you go outside or move away from home the first time it is acceptable to say "headed out into the world". I don't think many people think that means they are going into the Earths crust.

    2. Steve Knox
      Headmaster

      Re: Heading out into the Solar System.?

      Sorry for being picky.

      Don't be. Pick a handle, wrap that pedantry in some snarky language, and throw in an icon like this:

      Needling the hacks* is considered an afternoon's entertainment 'round these parts.

      *Always good-naturedly, of course.

  3. ridley

    Moons gravity to slow down?

    "The spacecraft will use the Moon's gravity to slow down, orbit the satellite, and then soft-land using rocket propulsion."

    How does that work then? I was under the impression that you would speed up when approaching a gravity "well".

    1. Captain DaFt

      Re: Moons gravity to slow down?

      " I was under the impression that you would speed up when approaching a gravity "well". "

      It's all in the angle of approach. You can aim to get pulled in by a solar body's gravity but not hit it, and that gives you a boost. In other words, fall at it and miss.

      Or, you can aim to fly past it, but close enough to let it's gravity drag you back to slow down. in this case, fly by and get snagged.

      Or, to get technical, if the angle of approach is similar to the direction of pull, you accelerate, if they're not, you decelerate.

      In either case, the tricky part is not ending up in a crater on the surface.

      1. ridley

        Re: Moons gravity to slow down?

        Nope still does not make sense to me.

        If you are getting closer you are essentialy failling (even if only slightly tangentially) and so will be increasing your speed.

        Now I can quite understand how you can speed up or slow down by not going into orbit as you pass by an celestial body (ie the slingshot) but not how you can approach a body and slow down whilst at the same time going into orbit.

        1. Don Jefe
          Boffin

          Re: Moons gravity to slow down?

          The simplest version is that the craft accelerates during the approach to the body (the Moon in this case), and decelerates on the escape. If you want to decelerate the craft you fly against the motion of the body, with it to accelerate. The Mariner 10 craft did this at Mercury.

          The more realistic version gets into the effects of the craft on the energy of the body (Moon) and the difference between them relative to the Sun and other really complicated shit the guys in the back like.

          1. Don Jefe

            Re: Moons gravity to slow down?

            Sorry, hit submit too soon.

            Generally a manuver like this is to slow the craft some before it begins to enter actual orbit. Deceleration by gravity will not be the only method used, it just reduces the amount of powered deceleration required so less fuel is needed in the craft at takeoff and reduces mechanical stresses associated with rocket powered brakes.

        2. Fink-Nottle
          Happy

          Re: Moons gravity to slow down?

          > Nope still does not make sense to me.

          Time to get hold of Kerbal Space Program ...

          1. Crisp

            Re: Kerbal Space Program

            Get the Mech Jeb addon. It makes fine tuning a transfer orbit so easy.

    2. Don Jefe
      Joke

      Re: Moons gravity to slow down?

      If you go round the Moon clockwise you go faster. If you go counter clockwise you go slower. Flying around the sun is the same except you to forward or backward in time.

  4. Anomalous Cowshed

    The year is 2050

    In the face of apathy, greed and incompetence among its main competitors in the space race, China has colonised the moon and established de facto sovereignty over it. Huge Chinese bases are dotted across the bleak landscape. Chinese satellites, fitted with high-tech kinetic impact missiles, orbit around it, lest any minor Earth power dare wander too close. The two Chinese characters representing China have even been inscribed across the surface of the moon in letters a thousand miles across, and are now visible from earth. The price of genuine moon rocks is now so low that fakes are no longer for sale on ebay.

    So established is China's hegemony over the moon, that in dens all over the world, mama cats have a new way of scaring their offspring into eating their food. They point to the moon and say "If you don't eat your mouse, the bad, bad Chinaman is going to come down and eat you!".

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: The year is 2050

      Oblig. Question: where is all the rocket fuel coming from, in 2050 when the oil, coal and gas have nearly run out?

      1. Ross K

        Re: The year is 2050

        Wind power?

        1. Don Jefe

          Re: The year is 2050

          Lunar Power!

      2. Chris G Silver badge

        Re: The year is 2050

        "Oblig. Question: where is all the rocket fuel coming from, in 2050 when the oil, coal and gas have nearly run out?"

        Probably the same places it is coming from now, generally oil reserve quotations are based on those reserves with a 90% probability of being recovered.

        In reality it is a small fraction of all the oil that is down there, with constant advances in technology and the economic factors that govern what is economically viable the probabilities are that we will continue to use oil coal and gas for far longer than the predicted life of current oil reserves.

        There are also ways of propelling a rocket without using anything remotely connect to fossil fuels such as Lox/alcohol although currently the Chinese are planning to use their Long March 5 which is Lox/ kerosene.

        Lox/methane (cow powered?) has been used before too.

        1. frank ly

          @Chris G Re: The year is 2050 re. Lox/methane

          I was hoping you'd finish your post with a 'cow jumping over the moon' reference.

        2. No, I will not fix your computer
          Boffin

          Re: The year is 2050

          >>Probably the same places it is coming from now, generally oil reserve quotations are based on those reserves with a 90% probability of being recovered.

          Not really...

          >>In reality it is a small fraction of all the oil that is down there, with constant advances in technology and the economic factors that govern what is economically viable the probabilities are that we will continue to use oil coal and gas for far longer than the predicted life of current oil reserves.

          Umm....

          Primary extraction will pull up to 40% of the oil using the least amount of energy to do it

          Secondary extraction can pull up to another 50%, however the energy required to do it is significantly higher

          Tertiary methods can get up to 60% of the original oil

          Do do you notice anything? 40% + 50% + 60% = 150% which of course makes no sense, you can't extract more oil than exists, yes absolutely there are new fields, and yes absolutely there are better methods (and new higher energy methods) of getting more oil, the peak oil estimates are getting better, and as we aproach the ability to extract the magic 100% the estimates will (barring a hither to unknown source) we will know how long the oil will last saying tings like "In reality it is a small fraction of all the oil that is down there" is merely based in wishful thinking.

          >>There are also ways of propelling a rocket without using anything remotely connect to fossil fuels such as Lox/alcohol

          Have a guess where most of the liquid oxygen for rockets comes from...... Yup fossil fuels, oh yes you can just suck oxygen out of the atmosphere (like membrane compressors), but they are far more costly.

          Which kind of drives me to the final point "the economic factors", ERoEI (energy returned on energy invested), you simply can't just keep putting the cost of fuel up if it costs more to extract, because a big slice of the cost to extract is on energy expended, so if the price of that goes up so does the price you have to sell it for, and so on, until the feedback loop spirals out of control, one reason why solar energy is viable now is because it takes less energy to produce the panels than you'll get back (over time they save money), non rechargable AA batteries cost more in energy to produce than they produce, but as the original energy comes from elsewhere it's OK (well, stupid from an energy conservation perspective, but OK)

          So, are you right about 2050 fuel being from the same place? probably, even if we have hit peak oil already, if we consume oil at our current rate we have 150 years left, lets say we can extract 100% of our known oil - that's 300 years, lets be optimistic and say we can find as much oil again, another 300 years? maybe, let's hope that we have an alternative when it does run out.

  5. crayon

    @ Michael Habel

    "Besides Osamba already robed NASAs cradle for its Milk Money so he could fund his Healthcare Scheme. "

    Maybe he should rob the welfare department aka warfare department (aka defense department) to fund NASA?

    @ frank ly

    "Woud the ISS or the LHC be a good model for joint projects of this nature?"

    Depends on who has the final say. China expressed an interest in joining the ISS, but the US didn't want them.

  6. Vectrexer

    The Chinese are really rocking space advancements right now. Good for them!

    1. Don Jefe
      Thumb Up

      Of all the nations, the Chinese have the most justifiable reason for space advancement: Population and expansion challenges.

      Even though their birth rate has tapered off somewhat they're got a real problem if they can't figure out what to do with all their people. They can't really expand their borders significantly without running into military and political problems and huge portions of their country are not suitable for Human life. They have to do something and now is a good time to do it because they're relatively stable.

      It is significantly cheaper, even going it alone, to sort out future problems through science rather than via a military solution. Plus there's the added bonuses of new, tangential discoveries and possibly a mineral bounty from the Moon or asteroids. Plus it's a nice notch in your belt if you've got a truly functional space program.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Simple, they encourage smoking local cigarettes, at the same time as criticising it as harmful...

        That way the current generation die young of lung related illnesses...

        and simple maths explain their policy...

        2 parents create 1 child... meaning population drop to 50% over 2 generations then stabilise as that 1 child generation is allowed 2 kids per couple.. (roughly that is the policy)...

        Oh and I have heard they are putting birth control in the water supply... That'll help keep population low...

  7. amanfromMars 1 Silver badge

    Confucius Says ...... **

    In a mad, mad, mad, mad world, do moon visits equate to the handling/man management of lunacy on earth and that requires the intelligence of information that delivers one programs that supply sanity, viable imagination to build upon and create future realities which have the ignoble past replaced by enobling presents which be remotely virtually controlled and driven from secured proprietary intellectual property spaces providing media with tall true tales to tell and/or sell should lucre be the reward offered and/or sought.

    From such as would be ACE fields and quite heavenly places for AI and ICT*, is Universal Command with Creative IT Control a Great Game and one devilish beta pleasure to enjoy and share rather than hell to endure and sustain.

    And more suited for booting and lead from an Exotic Erotic East than Wild Wacky West is a pregnant question of both Dream Weavers and Nightmare Fiddlers, for such is that which confronts and challenges them to play a Significantly Better Beta Great Game?!.

    *<:-)>ACE ….. Astute Curious Endeavour

    AI ….. Advanced IntelAIgents

    ICT …… Internet Crash Testing</:-)>

    ** "Do not impose on others what you yourself do not desire."

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Why pay twice?

    Effectively we're already paying the Chinese to go with our huge balance of payments imbalance.

    If we restarted our manned space program our teabaggers would probably see it as a form of welfare and stage more endless filibusters, sequesters, and cancel Obama^h^h^h^h^hRomneyCare, because Lord only knows we can't be using that kind of trickle down economics to be he'pin' the trailer park trash and the darkies pull themselves up by their bootstraps – that'd be communism.

    We should just keep on keepin' on. Keep buying cheap crap from China for Walmart and ASDA to sell to trailer park trash that can't figure out the Walmart "low prices" bait-and-switch scam; keep those balance of payments right where they are while the Waltons continue to bank billions and Walmart pays its employees below subsistence wages.

    Because we don't really care who goes, as long as someone goes, right?

  9. Darling Petunia

    You knew this was coming. The 'west' wastes opportunities for advancement by building monuments to old concepts, and feeding the egos of those 'at the top'.

    As described elsewhere we face the ever popular: 'Finders keepers. Loser's weepers'.

    Got's to find them REM (rare 'earth' minerals)

  10. Kharkov
    Facepalm

    Neil DeGrasse Tyson, He say...

    The American scientist Neil DeGrasse Tyson has said many times, and most recently on the Daily Show on Febuary 27th 2013, that, 'Once the Soviet Union made it clear they weren't going to the Moon, the US stopped going too.'

    Now the Chinese are going to do what the Americans have given up on and they're going to do it 2017 or a couple of years later. I happily predict (if I'm wrong, come see me in 2020 & I'll give you a dollar) that this will, finally, fire up the American Private Sector (possibly NASA too) to get serious about getting us into space.

    Heading out into space? No rush. What? THEY'RE going to get there FIRST? We can't let THEM get there first! Start building dicks!

    Er, rockets, I meant rockets - Freudian slip...

    Oh, and...

    Kudos China!

  11. amanfromMars 1 Silver badge

    The Future is Bright ... and more Yellow than Orange and Redskinned?

    The registered consensus here on this thread appears to be that the East has the right attitude and methodologies and the West is in a schizophrenic state of petrifying paralysis/psychotic paranoia with its IT technologies and parasitic legacy sapping systems admins?

    On having to choose and make a decision on where one can be most helpful and/or make a vast fortune, is the answer ........... well, quite obvious and not at all obvious are both equally valid, methinks, with the option containing the smarter/wiser components being the most probable dead cert favourite for those fond of a flutter and gamble/secure punt/rigged bet :-)

    Although, in a world where nothing is ever as it seems mainstream, and the obvious be obfuscated and/or redacted, is that not a gamble at all whenever one also be paid to play both home and away for the house/bank ....... as a sort of postmodern latter day sainted freelancing white knight skilled in the dark and dank and rank and secret ancient arts of protective attacking defense. ....... which be an APT ACT.

    The compass quandary though, as to which leads what to where for whoever, would still seem to remain enigmatically unanswered categorically ........ with it being quite possibly a really stupid unnecessary question with no definitive answer to be made available.

  12. khisanth

    Well I am glad to see someone actually making some progress with Moon exploration and not just sending probes to smash into the surface.

    Might be the boot up the backside NASA and the ESA need.

  13. gmciver

    I don't think they've any intention of building a manned moon base. They're just trying to get the Americans to waste money

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