back to article China, for one, welcomes our ROBOT SPACE ANT overlords

China's signalled its intention to develop robotics for deep space missions. The signals came in the form of a speech by Liu Jizhong, director of the lunar exploration program and space engineering center at China's State Administration of Science, Technology and Industry for National Defense. Liu's speech, reported by Chinese …

  1. Kharkov
    Boffin

    Let's not forget, Slowly, slowly, with China...

    Nice article but let's not rush to cheer with the 100-tonne-plus-to-LEO beast, the proposed Long March 9, just yet.

    I'd say that the boys over here in China will have their hands full getting the new generation of rockets, the Long Marches 5 (heavy-lift, up to 25 tonnes to LEO), 6 (designed for sun-synchronous operations) & 7 (medium-lift, intended to match the Falcon 9 in payload-to-orbit) into service, and phasing out the older generation of rockets.

    So, let's wait four or five years while that gets done and the argument that a really-expensive heavy-lifter is needed, plus the probably several years of development before it enters service.

    Big dreams, yes, but slow & steady is the lesson...

    1. fajensen Silver badge

      Re: Let's not forget, Slowly, slowly, with China...

      Yes - but - all *we* are doing for the last 15 years is pretend-bombing pieces of desert and spying on everyone to employ a standing army of military / security consultants of about 5.1 million people. The entire Norwegian population.

      It's good to see that the Chinese can dream. Since we have lost the plot.

      1. Yesnomaybe

        Re: Let's not forget, Slowly, slowly, with China...

        Keeps us Norwegians in jobs though, so mustn't grumble really.

  2. Stuart Grout

    Ideological differences

    Interesting to see that China (nominally Communist) is driving ahead with practical plans that will develop it's technology and industry where the USA (nominally Capitalist) gets tied up with the need to support corporations who's only motive is short term profit.

    In the long term I expect China's approach will deliver more as they seem to be focused on getting the job done rather than proving whether big or giant corporations are better at spending the tax payers money.

    1. Mark 85 Silver badge

      Re: Ideological differences

      Give them some time and they'll be doing the corporate thing like everyone else. Even Russia is doing this some now. Quite a few of their companies are major players.

      OTOH, given the nature of China, it's possible that they already have the big bird on the drawing boards are looking ahead for the propaganda win that their way is "better".

  3. Allan George Dyer Silver badge
    Boffin

    Stupid question...

    Can you see the L2 Lagrange point from Earth? Or are they planning a double-relay, with a satellite in Earth orbit and one at L2?

    1. tony2heads

      Re: Stupid question...

      L2 is behind the moon (orbiting the earth-moon system) so NO.

    2. Rustident Spaceniak
      Boffin

      Re: Stupid question...

      If it's the Earth-Moon L2 point they mean, no, you can't see it from Earth. Which makes this plan a bit funny, as there are two stable Lagrange points L4 and L5 in the Earth-Moon system, from where you could see a bit less than half of the Moon's backside (think Selene's rear in profile) [edit: though not necessarily the lunar poles at all times].

      A satellite in [edit: reasonably high, e.g. GEO] Earth orbit would help, though it would need to follow the Moon with a receiver antenna, so you'd probably need a dedicated satellite.

  4. Message From A Self-Destructing Turnip

    Only six legs?

    More legs would offer greater resilience, that way you could lose a few and still scuttle along. Though there's probably a trade off against weight, complexity and power requirements.

  5. Your alien overlord - fear me

    I for one, welcome my robotic ant equals !!!!

  6. Peter Clarke 1
    Devil

    Have they not seen the film Red (!) Planet or the New Captain Scarlet episode RATT Trap to see what happens when AMEE or RATT go out of control???

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