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 stargazer1000
Joined: 1/16/2008
Msg: 1
China's space programPage 1 of 2    (1, 2)
Well, anyone wondering about the future of China's space program? Should NASA be worried? Do you think China will make it to the moon and can they be trusted to respect international convention on no one nation having exclusive claim to planetary bodies?
 Beaugrand®™©
Joined: 3/24/2008
Msg: 2
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China's space program
Posted: 9/28/2008 7:41:11 PM
It has a very bright future. They'll probably find ways to make it profitable.

NASA should have been worried for the past 30 years. Instead, they p1ssed away a 30-year lead on the rest of the world.

I'm sure a Moon expedition is in the planning stages; as for respecting unenforceable treaties (since we abandoned the Moon 30 years ago, thus abandoning any claims to it) why should they?
 whothehellknows
Joined: 7/23/2006
Msg: 3
China's space program
Posted: 9/28/2008 8:42:01 PM
I hope China does develop a thriving space program. Space should not be only a venture for Western countries to exploit in the future.
 Beaugrand®™©
Joined: 3/24/2008
Msg: 4
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Posted: 9/29/2008 3:30:38 AM
A military base on the Moon would have a definite strategic advantage (the ultimate "high ground"); that was the original main purpose of the 1960s "space race."

Launching warheads from the surface of the Moon toward targets on the Earth would require significantly less energy than lifting a warhead of similar destructive power from the surface of the Earth to a target on the Earth- and the Moon-launched warhead needn't be nuclear to cause catastrophic damage. Moon-based lasers could destroy military and communications satellites very efficiently (no pesky atmosphere to attenuate the beam).
 nipoleon
Joined: 12/27/2005
Msg: 5
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Posted: 9/29/2008 3:46:10 AM
The next person to walk on the moon could very well be a Chinese.
As far as respecting international treaties ?
I'm sure they can be trusted to do the same thing that they do down here.
There's not much we can do about it if we're not up there too, now is there ?
 Thatguy67
Joined: 9/20/2006
Msg: 6
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Posted: 9/29/2008 4:40:42 AM
Some trivia:
For the past couple of years, some western news agencies, including some english language Chinese newspapers, have been referring to Chinese space travellers as taikonauts. Taikong is Chinese for space and naut of course is Greek for traveller.
 Ahoytheredave
Joined: 8/29/2006
Msg: 7
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Posted: 9/29/2008 6:28:04 AM
One purpose of the Chinese lunar program is for the "mining" of Helium 3. This is a byproduct of solar flares concentrated in the surface of the moon but not on Earth because of our atmosphere. Helium 3 is kind of like an incomplete fusion reaction that is in theory much easier to complete and release energy than hydrogen fusion. I have made a rough calcualtion that with current technology, only 2200 pounds per year would supply ALL of mankind's energy needs. The head of the Chinese lunar project estimated it would require only three return flights per year to get enough Helium 3 to supply mankind's total energy needs so it seems my calculations are not far off theirs.

If one assumes new technologies such as magnetohydrodynamic plasma generators could be developed to complement Helium 3 fusion, then efficiency could double and fuel requirements would be even lower. Does this put lunar exploration and development in another perspective?

NASA is a bureauracy and behaves as one. They will be poltically correct and forever be seeking to keep elected officials happy. They will do what they can to have a positive public image to maintain their budget. Ask yourself if they are more concerned with science or politics and if you are being manipulated.
 RocketMan_Len
Joined: 7/5/2006
Msg: 8
China's space program
Posted: 9/29/2008 6:38:34 PM

Launching warheads from the surface of the Moon toward targets on the Earth would require significantly less energy than lifting a warhead of similar destructive power from the surface of the Earth to a target on the Earth- and the Moon-launched warhead needn't be nuclear to cause catastrophic damage. Moon-based lasers could destroy military and communications satellites very efficiently (no pesky atmosphere to attenuate the beam).


Actually, a Lunar-based missile site is a BAD idea. For one thing, your targets get several days' warning as your warheads fall inwards. Second - given that amount of lead-time, it's a pretty sure bet that you're going to be obliterated yourself by the counter-attack. Third - unless you're launching hundred-tonne boulders, your missiles are still vulnerable to defensive weapons.

Strategically speaking, the best place for your missile base would be in low orbit, not on the Moon.
 Ahoytheredave
Joined: 8/29/2006
Msg: 9
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Posted: 9/30/2008 7:12:06 AM

there you go msg 10 above^^^^has a positive thought on China's motives which could benefit the entire world.

The positive or negative will depend on politics. Helium 3 could usher in a new smaller cheaper easier to build nuclear device. Such a development could put such devices in the tactical theater and become an undetectable terrorist or covert first strike weapon. One should not always assume a positive intent. The moon is a lousy place to base missiles and probably even energy weapons because of the distance but as a source of weapons fuel, it could be very strategic.


Crikey.......why does American everyday life revolve around acquiring the untouchable and exclusively superior military capability over everyone everywhere? Mankind is so much more than just blowing each other up because of different religious perceptions, skin colour and shape of eyes, political belief or greed for the natural wealth of another’s country.

The concept that it is differences that result in war are not sufficient to explain the cost of war. War is instinctive from evolutionary pressure for survival of the fittest. It is common among and within many species. Only with this element, does the cost of war make sense. Ignor the threat at your own peril or you may become the least fit to survive.

Mars has a slight atmosphere but how that impacts Helium 3 availability is uncertain. Its distance and a gravity higher than the moon make it more suited to colonization and research.
 Beaugrand®™©
Joined: 3/24/2008
Msg: 10
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Posted: 9/30/2008 9:26:13 AM

Actually, a Lunar-based missile site is a BAD idea.

Yes, it's a terrible idea. It's also been discussed for decades (in strategic planning as well as in works of fiction, such as Robert Heinlein's "The Moon is a Harsh Mistress"), and it's still a possibility, bad idea or not. Governments and military bodies implement bad ideas all the time, and will continue to develop and implement bad ideas.

For one thing, your targets get several days' warning as your warheads fall inwards.

Which only increases the terror as the missiles rain down on a panicking population. Advance warning only helps if you have the means to intercept, and NO nation has deployed that capability yet.

Second - given that amount of lead-time, it's a pretty sure bet that you're going to be obliterated yourself by the counter-attack.

Obliterated how? At present NO nation has the capability for launching a counterstrike weapon against the Moon, and given the amount of time necessary to devise such weapons, the Lunar base would have sufficient time to destroy any launch facilities.

Third - unless you're launching hundred-tonne boulders, your missiles are still vulnerable to defensive weapons.

Actually I think 20-ton warheads would be sufficient. If made of native non-metallic lunar rock or compressed lunar soil and torpedo-shaped, would be nearly invisible to radar and could survive entry into the Earth's atmosphere (at a speed of 30,000 mph) mostly intact. Properly chilled to near absolute zero and with appropriate moisture content, they could be devised to explode in the lower atmosphere, rather than impacting.
Again, such defensive weapons that exist would be ineffectual, or would cause even more widespread damage by breaking the "boulders" into many smaller, impossible-to-track particles.

Of course I'm not hoping for such a scenario, but it is possible, however unlikely, and should be considered in the event a "rogue nation" develops the ability to establish Moon bases.
 Beaugrand®™©
Joined: 3/24/2008
Msg: 11
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Posted: 9/30/2008 9:28:32 AM

Mankind is so much more than just blowing each other up because of different religious perceptions, skin colour and shape of eyes, political belief or greed for the natural wealth of another’s country.
Interesting notion. I see no evidence to support the idea, however. Most of history indicates exactly the opposite.
 RocketMan_Len
Joined: 7/5/2006
Msg: 12
China's space program
Posted: 9/30/2008 3:35:40 PM

Which only increases the terror as the missiles rain down on a panicking population. Advance warning only helps if you have the means to intercept, and NO nation has deployed that capability yet.


Any nation with an orbital capability has the means to loft interceptors.


Obliterated how? At present NO nation has the capability for launching a counterstrike weapon against the Moon, and given the amount of time necessary to devise such weapons, the Lunar base would have sufficient time to destroy any launch facilities.


I was referring to the nation that initiated the strike - not the base itself. Other nations are still going to have their ICBMs... and the day you announce that your lunar base has launched an attack, you may find yourself MIRV'ed out of existence.


Properly chilled to near absolute zero and with appropriate moisture content, they could be devised to explode in the lower atmosphere, rather than impacting.


How are you going to maintain that temperature, exposed to raw sunlight all the way down?
 Beaugrand®™©
Joined: 3/24/2008
Msg: 13
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Posted: 10/1/2008 12:51:43 AM

Any nation with an orbital capability has the means to loft interceptors

What means, what interceptors? They don't exist in any form but theoretical, and no nation has anything deployed or deployable.

I was referring to the nation that initiated the strike - not the base itself. Other nations are still going to have their ICBMs... and the day you announce that your lunar base has launched an attack, you may find yourself MIRV'ed out of existence.


I'm not attacking anyone, if anything I'm hoping to avoid an attack by encouraging multinational participation in deep space exploration. Actually, someone questioned the value of the Moon as a military asset, which is pretty much a no-brainer, and another compelling argument for multinational efforts in space. The practical and commercial value of the Moon is another topic for discussion, but that discussion would be wasted here.
"Other Nations" right now means the US; maybe Russia could come up with a few missiles that haven't deteriorated past the "freshness date," and by stretching the requirements maybe a dozen or so other warheads are mounted on functioning boosters throughout the rest of the world. IIRC the US has a "launch on impact" policy rather than a "launch on launch" policy. I'm just guessing, I think the aggressor's Lunar base commander would launch without warning and target those very ICBM silos.

MIRVing another nation might not be such a good idea, global fallout and "nuclear winter," and all. I personally don't like the idea of strontium-90 in my milk.

How are you going to maintain that temperature, exposed to raw sunlight all the way down?

I'm not going to maintain anything, but if I had to, I'd swath the missile/boulder in reflective foil, and keep the long axis (it's torpedo-shaped, remember?)- which has the heat shield-pointed at the sun as long as possible.

I just think there needs to be a multinational presence on the Moon, to keep everybody honest, as we should have done in the 1970s; as we have done with the USSR, later Russia, and the ESA and others in the international space station.
 scorpiomover
Joined: 4/19/2007
Msg: 14
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Posted: 10/2/2008 8:13:32 AM
I'm hoping they'll terra-form the moon, and/or make a livable space-station, to take some of their population problems off their hands. If they do, you can bet that we'll benefit from their technological advances as well.
 huixin
Joined: 11/22/2007
Msg: 15
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Posted: 10/19/2008 1:46:55 AM
exclusive claim ? The moon belongs to the WORLD not only China
 desertrhino
Joined: 11/30/2007
Msg: 16
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Posted: 10/19/2008 7:57:38 PM
There's no way to solve population issues by moving population off-planet. It costs more to move someone off the planet than to feed them for longer than their lifespan.
 stargazer1000
Joined: 1/16/2008
Msg: 17
China's space program
Posted: 10/19/2008 8:11:34 PM

There's no way to solve population issues by moving population off-planet. It costs more to move someone off the planet than to feed them for longer than their lifespan.


Sadly true, especially for a long-time sc-fi fan like me. It's going to take a major leap in technology that rivals the rocket to get us out of this deep gravity well we live at the bottom of.

That said, I'm absolutely convinced that we must leave this planet as a survival strategy for the species. One good hit by a large enough comet and we join the dinosaurs. It's happened before. It will happen again. It never pays to have all your survival eggs in one basket.

If one is inclined to believe in the Gaia hypothesis, of the planet as a living organism, I read a wonderful take on it in a book, I think, by Greg Bear. It is the natural tendency of every living organism to expand and reproduce. Well, what if intelligence and consciousness is a natural expression of that biological imperative? It's also the drive of at least one intelligent species to expand outwards into the universe.

It's a neat idea.
 TheLimey
Joined: 2/24/2008
Msg: 18
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Posted: 10/19/2008 8:15:27 PM

What means, what interceptors? They don't exist in any form but theoretical, and no nation has anything deployed or deployable.

Apart from the USN which blew up a satellite a few months back with a ship launched missile....& those missiles just happen to be deployed where ever the USN is floating about...
 ________
Joined: 12/24/2006
Msg: 19
China's space program
Posted: 11/2/2008 5:16:06 AM
It's about time the exploration of space got some greater priority. It is after all the only hope for the survival of the human race in the longer term.
 Jankinssong
Joined: 4/10/2007
Msg: 20
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Posted: 12/13/2008 8:37:56 AM
you ever worried about that, that seems to be funny.
We are pretty sure to r- e- s- p- e- c- t the intermational convention.
just like every countrys could settle their labs in the Antarctica,right?
 MisterStone
Joined: 11/28/2008
Msg: 21
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Posted: 12/13/2008 5:09:44 PM
"Both China and Russia have requested verifiable results but none has been forthcoming putting the veracity of the claimed success in doubt. The main stated objective of the US test was to destroy the hydrazine fuel tank on the Sat 193, a top secret spy satellite, but even that objective was not verifiable by any party including the US.

If it can’t be peer reviewed it shouldn’t be claimed, makes sense, as without proof it’s just bravado or propaganda."


In the realm of military affairs, it is NOT always in our interests to advertise the full extent of what we can do.
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