China cemented its reputation as the fastest rising star on the space scene this weekend by landing a rover on the moon—a challenging feat pulled off by only two nations before: the U.S. and the Soviet Union.
“This is a very big deal indeed,” says lunar scientist Paul Spudis of the Lunar and Planetary Institute in Houston. “Landing on the moon is not something easily attained—it requires precision maneuvering, tracking, computation and engineering. It is a delicate task and the Chinese success reflects a mature, evolving and capable program.”
The Chang’e 3 mission touched down on the moon Saturday (December 14) after launching December 1 on a Chinese rocket. The lander included a four-legged stationary probe and a six-wheeled robotic rover that, with mast deployed, stands about 1.5 meters tall. The spacecraft is the first man-made object to land on the moon in 37 years, and coincidentally touched down exactly 41 years after the last humans departed the lunar surface. Apollo 17 astronauts Eugene Cernan and Harrison Schmitt launched off the moon to begin their return trip on December 14, 1972, space history expert Robert Pearlman points out at collectSPACE.com.
The Chang’e 3 landing is “no small achievement,” says Roger Launius, associate director for Collections and Curatorial Affairs at the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum in Washington, D.C. “There is a measure of pride at home and prestige abroad that accrues to the Chinese space program.” At the same time, he adds, China is replicating an achievement the U.S. and the Soviet Union mastered decades ago, and one that private teams, some of which are made up of undergraduate and graduate students, are aiming to match in the near future for the Google Lunar X PRIZE competition. “Some people who might be concerned that the Chinese are demonstrating these capabilities, and who are running around with their hair on fire—I’m not sure that’s appropriate.”
Those in a tizzy about China’s growing space prowess might include the members of Congress, led by Congressman Frank Wolf (R–Va.), who passed a law in 2011 that explicitly forbids NASA from cooperating with China on any space activities.
The Latest on: Chinese space program
[google_news title=”” keyword=”Chinese space program” num_posts=”10″ blurb_length=”0″ show_thumb=”left”]
via Google News
The Latest on: Chinese space program
- Space official calls for China to seize crucial opportunity to establish lunar infrastructureon March 31, 2023 at 2:22 am
HELSINKI — A top Chinese space official has called for the country to speed up ... The United States is meanwhile leading a group of space actors through the Artemis program and the Artemis Accords, ...
- Chinese defense contractor to begin launching VLEO satelliteson March 30, 2023 at 5:23 am
Chinese defense contractor to begin launching VLEO satellites Major Chinese state-owned defense contractor CASIC is preparing to launch the first satellite for a very low Earth orbit constellation.
- China Plans to Make Its Space Debris Hit the Ground a Little Sloweron March 29, 2023 at 1:40 pm
China's space program is finalizinga recovery system that will allow discarded rocket boosters to gently and accurately descend to earth via parachutes.
- Chinese solid rocket launches 4 weather satellites to orbit (video)on March 29, 2023 at 1:16 am
Related: The latest news about China's space program The satellites, designated as Tianmu 1 satellites 03-06, are intended to provide global commercial meteorological data services, according to ...
- Space wars: When science fiction becomes realityon March 27, 2023 at 7:00 am
Even the International Space Station is likely to become less of a cooperative venture, having previously been the ultimate symbol of multinational shared interests.
- Space race: Chinese rocket launches quadruple over decade, survey findson March 26, 2023 at 6:42 pm
A new survey from the Japanese government indicates that rocket launches into space from China have more than quadrupled over the past decade.
- Logos for three major space missions in 2023 revealedon March 24, 2023 at 5:05 am
The China Manned Space Agency has revealed logos for three missions of China's manned space program this year — the launches of the cargo craft Tianzhou 6, and the crewed spaceships Shenzhou XVI and ...
- China ‘Colonizes’ Space with Its First Rice Harveston March 21, 2023 at 7:33 pm
In the real world, China recently reached a similar milestone in the human habitation of space, with the announcement by the Chinese Academy of Sciences that rice seeds had been harvested on the ...
- China and Russia pose increasing risks to US in new space raceon March 21, 2023 at 3:55 pm
China is aiming at becoming the world's dominant space power which poses a threat to U.S. security. Beijing is collaborating with Russia to make their space ambitions possible.
- Russia’s Space Program Is in Big Troubleon March 19, 2023 at 11:00 pm
A set of Soyuz spacecraft coolant leaks hints that Roscosmos is struggling as the space agency loses international partnerships and funding.
via Bing News