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
via Google News
The Latest on: Chinese space program
- Russia wants to launch its own space station by 2025on April 21, 2021 at 3:56 am
Russian space agency Roscosmos has announced this week that it hopes to launch its own orbiting space station by 2025. The agency is considering withdrawing from the ISS program and operating its ...
- Nio, Li Auto, Xpeng: What's Driving The Sell Off In Chinese EV Stocks?on April 20, 2021 at 10:43 pm
How Do Chinese EV Stocks Compare? for an overview of the financial and valuation metrics of three major Chinese EV players. U.S. listed Chinese electric vehicle stocks have declined considerably this ...
- China has 400+ satellites, Russia 200 and set to double by 2030, US Space Command chief sayson April 20, 2021 at 3:40 pm
U.S. Army Gen. James Dickinson, the commander of the U.S. Space Command (SPACECOM) said China is second only to the U.S. for the most satellites in orbit, with 400 Chinese satellites currently in ...
- STRATCOM commander calls on Congress to update US triad as China’s nuclear program advances weeklyon April 20, 2021 at 1:48 pm
The Chinese military’s nuclear capabilities are increasing rapidly and, for the first time, might be primed for use, the U.S. military officer in charge of America’s nuclear arsenal warned Tuesday as ...
- China wants to launch its own Hubble-class telescope as part of space stationon April 20, 2021 at 3:53 am
China could launch the first module for its own space station this month as the country also prepares to send a large space telescope to join it in orbit within the next few years. The Chinese Space ...
- Russia, U.S. and China Are in a Scary New Space Raceon April 17, 2021 at 5:00 am
It could be argued that Yuri Gagarin’s short flight into space, 60 years ago this week, was more important to the U.S. than to the Soviet Union. The Soviet launch of the first human into the cosmos, ...
- Analysts: China’s space programs are a security concern to the U.S. but not all are nefariouson April 16, 2021 at 12:46 pm
Analysts said a U.S. intelligence report painted China’s space program with a broad brush and failed to draw distinctions between civilian and military pursuits.
- Why the U.S. and China Should Collaborate in Spaceon April 15, 2021 at 12:37 pm
While much has been made of the tense March 18 exchange between American and Chinese diplomats in Anchorage, Alaska, one area became an unlikely candidate for cooperation: outer space. China’s top ...
- Experts: NASA will continue working with Russia on space despite China planon April 13, 2021 at 12:00 am
Russia and NASA will continue to cooperate in space in the near future, even as Russia moves to work with China on lunar exploration, experts said.
- China and Russia Are Launching the New Cold War Into Spaceon April 12, 2021 at 1:46 pm
For being vast, mysterious and deadly, space is also somehow sort of hilarious. Even science fiction fans know this (see “The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy,” all volumes). Thus we’ve spent years ...
via Bing News