Here are some recent items from the last days on the historic soft landing on the moon, by the nation of China. These developments typify the type of development that the U.S. could be pursuing, if we were honestly committed to progress. These types of policies will never come to fruition as long as Obama remains in office, the policies of the Anglo-Dutch Empire and Wall St. continue to kill off the population as in Detroit, and our population is simply left to act as beasts, struggling for their own survival.
Indeed, we have given up what used to be our leadership role in Space.
The Whole World (Except the U.S.) Is Going to the Moon
In 1994, when the assembly of the international Space Station was well underway, and a number of countries were planning their next space science missions—many focused on the Moon—space agencies from around the world formed the International Lunar Exploration Working Group, (ILEWG) in order to coordinate future plans. It is a public forum, sponsored by the space agencies, with participation by other institutions, which since 1994 has held a series of international conferences. In 2006, the ILEWG lunar conference was held in Beijing, with high-level representation from NASA. The U.S. space agency is usually “allowed” to the talk to the Chinese in the context of international fora.
But since the assumption of power of the Obama Administration, NASA is not allowed to plan future missions to the Moon. Instead, other international planning discussions in which NASA participates have been forced to include his dangerous manned mission to a “near-by” asteroid, although no one plans to carry out such a mission—not even NASA.
The rest of the world has made its stand clear. Just simply ignoring the U.S., the European Space Agency’s Bernard Foing sent congratulations to the Chang’e-3 team on Dec. 15, on behalf of ILEWG. He says that this mission will help the development of “international lunar bases, as recommended by ILEWG and the space exploration community [all] over the world.”
The achievement of the Chinese Space Program comes as the result of decades of commitment, as opposed to the continued shutdown of U.S. capabilities in Space, especially under the Obama presidency.
Chinese Declare Chang’e-3 Success; Accelerate Timetable
With the perfect landing of Chang’e-3, successful deployment of the Yutu rover, and check out of the scientific instruments under way, spokesmen for the Chinese space program declared the mission a success at a press conference today. Wu Zhijian, spokesman for the State Administration of Science, Technology, and Industry for National Defense said that Chang’e-3 has “laid a solid foundation for [the] future exploration of deep space.” AP reports that Chinese President Xi Jinping and Premier Li Keqiang were at the Beijing Aerospace Control Center for the briefing, and comments by China National Space Administration director, Ma Xinguri.
The completion of Phase 2 of China’s lunar program will be by Chang’e-4. Due to the current success, this mission will be adapted to verify the new complex of technologies that will be needed for Phase 3, rather than simply repeat the current mission. The challenge of Chang’e-5 and 6 in the last phase will be to retrieve samples of lunar soil and rocks stored in a capsule, and return the capsule safely to the Earth. Wu explained that to carry this out, “many breakthroughs must be made in key technologies, such as Moon surface take-off [launch of the capsule from the Moon], sampling encapsulation [to hermetically seal and protect the samples], rendezvous and docking [with a return ship] in lunar orbit, and high-speed Earth reentry, which are all new to China.”
Apparently the timetable for the next steps in the Chang’e program has been moved up, undoubtedly also enabled by the current success. Wu said that the Chang’e-5 sample return mission will take place in 2017. Previously, 2020 was the often-quoted figure. Asked the perennial question about China’s plans for a manned landing on the Moon, Wu answered indirectly, saying that “the completion of the third phase will not mean the end of China’s lunar probe program. It should be a new starting point.” He said that follow-up plans are still being studied.
Asked about international cooperation for the next phases, Wu said that “in the next stage of the lunar program, there will be more international cooperation.”
Earlier this year, the new President of South Korea accelerated that nation’s lunar exploration program, instructing that its first all-indigenous lunar orbiter be ready for launch in 2020, rather than 2025. South Korea is not “racing” China to the Moon, being more than a decade behind, but, like China, is moving in a determined way in the right direction.
Because Chinese space officials immediately released to the public the photographs that the Chang’e-3 lunar lander took on its way down to the surface two days ago, lunar experts around the world were able to use high-resolution imagery taken previously by NASA’s Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter and Japan’s Selene orbiter to determine the approximate area where the lander settled. Within hours of the landing, Chinese scientists released the exact latitude and longitude of the landing site, allowing the world scientific community to enhance the Chinese mission, by locating the area on high-resolution orbital images, giving broader geographic context to the spacecraft now on the surface. Imagery from the descent, and the photographs the lander took of the rover, and vice versa, also show some of the geographic features where the Yutu rover will be working.
The lander sits in the Sea of Rains, not the planned Bay of Rainbows, (which is the risk you take when you let the spacecraft pick its own landing site!). The nearest crater is Laplace E. If the rover travels there, it will be able to examine layers of older lunar soil, that burst up to the surface when an asteroid or comet hit the Moon. According to lunar scientists, this is actually a potentially more geologically interesting region of the Moon than the previously planned site.
The older areas of the Moon are the bright highlands that go back to the time of the formation of the crust, 4.5 billion years ago, and were intensely cratered early in lunar history. Younger areas of the Moon are the dark, smooth regions, that are made up of lava flows, termed maria (seas). These regions were the result of volcanic eruptions, perhaps 3.9 billion years ago. Lunar scientist, Paul Spudis, describes the terrain of the Sea of Rains as “some of the most magnificent lava flows fronts seen on the Moon.” They are visible from telescopes on Earth. Chang’e-3’s landing site has an overlapping sequence of lava flows. The Yutu rover, Spudis points out, with its scientific instruments, will be able to examine the chemical composition of the lava flows that are on the surface now, and back in time.
As the data is released, it be combined with orbital data, and the exploration of the Moon by the Apollo astronauts.
Other nations gladly participate in this upward movement for man, as seen in the heightened collaboration of Space agencies for the Chang’e-3 mission.
‘China Is Now A Pioneer’ In Lunar Exploration, Says Russian Cosmonaut
Russian cosmonaut, Vladimir Kovalenok, described the mission as “a landmark flight.” China will build on the successes and failures of the earlier U.S. and Soviet lunar programs, he said, to “advance down the right track.” He added, “China is now a pioneer in this field, and its lunar missions will be a catalyst for lunar exploration in other countries, as the Moon can serve as a basis for a ‘jump’ on journeys to more distant [destinations] in the universe.” Other Russian commentators recalled that the first five Soviet lunar missions failed, but the Chinese have much more sophisticated technology today.
Japan’s Yomiuri Shimbun pointed out the importance of the mission to other programs, including the exploration of Mars. The paper surmised that China’s success will also encourage “future voices” to be heard, for future Moon exploration. Other Japanese commentators mentioned the inspiration that space exploration gives people, and how much international cooperation is needed.
And finally, the achievement of China has raised the issue that President John F. Kennedy raised, over 50 years ago, on the fundamental issue of human progress, and the need for mankind to not only discover, but to continue to ceaselessly discover and create.
What is the point of Lunar Exploration?
This was the question asked by People’s Daily in a lead editorial that explains to the Chinese people, and the people of the world why we must go to the moon, and other difficult tasks.
China like the rest of the world have those whose question expenditures on Space and other science areas when “There is so much to do at home.” The Chinese response makes it clear that the most important benefits come from exactly those things which can not be predicted in advance.
“Exploring the possibility of mining and exploiting energy on the moon, achieving developments in a new and unique ultrahigh vacuum, weak gravity and magnetic field-free environment, establishing an outpost or a transfer station for further space probes – all of these are goals of the lunar probe project, but one thing is certain. There will be more unanticipated benefits.
It is said that the internet was a by-product of the Apollo Moon Landing Project, because scientists wanted to share information by connecting the computers in the NASA Space Center. Nuclear magnetic resonance, laser communication, LCD TV, and the mobile phone that we can’t live without nowadays—-the requirements of manned moon landing provided impetus for technological breakthroughs in all of these fields.
Of course, none of these inventions appeared in the initial proposals for the Apollo Project. All long-term strategic projects such as the Manhattan Project, Apollo Project, Human Genome Project, 863 Project [a high tech development program for Chinese science started in 1986 under Deng Xiaoping that continued for 3 Five-year plans] , the manned space flight project, Chang’e lunar probe, will eventually have an impact on the daily life of ordinary people at some point in the future. It may take years even decades of years to see the effect. If we have no strategic vision, we will miss great opportunities.”