China has announced plans to land an unmanned probe on the Moon next year, the first such planned landing since the 1970s.

Back to the Moon: China has announced plans to land an unmanned probe on the Moon next year, the first such planned landing since the 1970s.

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3 comments

  • wodun

    And yet people keep saying they are not going to the Moon or are incapable yet the Chinese steadily march along reaching milestone after milestone.

  • You’re right, Wodun! Coming soon will be the Google Lunar X Prize (GLXP), of which each privatly-funded contestant might well equal or surpass the Chinese lander in capabilities. However there is a big difference between “big space” (manned landings and bases, shuttle-sized spacecraft, etc.) and “little space” (rovers, cubesats, etc.). Each plays a vital role, but it will be the “big space” race which we either join or lose by default; and that race could decide for decades whether space will be friendly or hostile to freedom. China’s lander is a precursor for their manned lunar base.

    The Chinese flags on the South China sea far beyond their territory, and now their recent claims on the Japanese island of Okinawa set a terrible example if we are to believe they will not similarly claim the moon. Control and use of outer space as defined by China and other dictatorships will be hostile for private ventures and free nations.

    There are essential reasons to return to the moon beyond just establishing that free nations and private ventures have the right to peacefully coexist on the moon with China and other regimes. In addition to mining and other ventures, the moon is our test bed for Mars. This is where we will learn how to live on Mars without excessive risk. Just learning how to cope with the dust alone will be an important factor. Bypass the moon as “been there, done that” and the first Mars landing is likely to be a disaster.

    Let’s go!

  • There are several issues here. The basics of property rights is claim and defend claim. Nations have better resources for defending a claim but no better right to do so. Anybody can claim unclaimed land and all of space is currently unclaimed (and the OST prohibits it’s members from making any claim… we’ll see how long that holds.) The way colonists compete with nations on claims is to join together in an orderly manner.

    As for the moon being a test for mars? It really isn’t, other than perhaps to give astronauts experience working in low gravity in suits. One of the first things you want to do on mars is seal off a big enough cave (either natural or excavated) so they have plenty of shirt sleeve environment to work in. Being in a space suit should be a rare event for colonists.

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