China to the moon

It raises interesting questions of priorities.

SHANGHAI, China – Scientists in Shanghai are developing a nuclear-powered lunar rover for the country’s first unmanned mission to the moon in 2012, newspapers reported Monday.

The six-wheeled vehicle has been under development for four years at the Shanghai Aerospace System Engineering Institute, where a laboratory has been outfitted to replicate the lunar surface, the Shanghai Daily reported.

The 5-foot-high, 440-pound rover is designed to transmit video in real time, dig for and analyze soil samples, and produce three dimensional images of the lunar surface, the paper said. In photographs, the rover appeared similar to NASA’s unmanned Spirit and Opportunity Mars explorers that were launched in 2003 and are still operating.

However, unlike the rechargeable lithium ion batteries used by those rovers, the Chinese model will eventually run on a nuclear power source to ensure a constant energy supply, the report said.

This nuclear powered lunar explorer sounds really cool. It may advance the development of new technologies. Is it, however, worth the cost in terms of China’s day to day challenges, and could the money be better spent elsewhere? I’m just asking.

I was appalled when Bush a couple of years ago in his state of the union address – when we were already in the midst of the Iraqi quagmire – made a manned flight to Mars one of the nation’s top priorities. There’s a time and a place for everything.

The Discussion: 57 Comments

The “question of priorities” issue is one that keeps getting tapped for the Chinese Space Program topic, and it’s a tough one im(not so)ho.

I get that the money could be spent in increasing access to education, better health care, social programs, etc… but I have a feeling that China’s going to be chasing that dragon’s tail for a long time and the money would very likely not get earmarked for those things even if the program was scrapped.

This way China has a driving force for new technologies as well as something that can stir up a bit of national pride that doesn’t involve sniffles and black eyes.

Maybe it’s the sci-fi guy in me that digs any space program, but I’m all for the nuclear lunar rover and a manned mission to Mars.

April 3, 2007 @ 6:52 pm | Comment

Humanaught, I actually have mixed feelings about China’s moon mission and your points are valid. I pose this as a question more than a statement. I have no mixed feelings, however, about Bush and Mars. The timing was simply atrocious, with looming deficits and ballooning costs due to the Iraq mess, and no intention ever to raise taxes. Bad, bad timing.

April 3, 2007 @ 7:03 pm | Comment

without wanting to sound like a broken record, all that will happen is that china will kick off another space/arms race, and given the problems they have it is not one they can win. i thought they learnt the lessons of the soviets?

April 3, 2007 @ 7:33 pm | Comment

Payoff will come when that rover discovers Song dynasty era pottery fragments that prove the moon is an inalienable part of China’s territory.

April 3, 2007 @ 9:32 pm | Comment

Slim, of course they will find pottery fragments. The Chinese invented the moon. By the way, it’s made out of doufu…

April 3, 2007 @ 9:53 pm | Comment

“…the rover appeared similar to NASA’s unmanned Spirit and Opportunity Mars explorers that were launched in 2003 and are still operating.”

Damn those yanks for copying our designs four years before we were ready to show the world how innovative we are.

April 3, 2007 @ 10:11 pm | Comment

Does anybody take seriously the idea of China mining the moon for Helium-3?

http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/16960411/site/newsweek/

There’s something about it that just seems epic and over-grand on a Three Gorges kind of level.

As for US plans: What I continue to find depressing about the Bush plan–Moon, Mars and Beyond–is that it will take us longer to get back to the Moon than it took us to get there the first time. Mars is a cool idea, but NASA hasn’t been going in that direction for a long time, so it’ll be a slow and expensive transition.

April 3, 2007 @ 11:21 pm | Comment

If the rocket malfunctions the vaporized plutonium from the RTG (used in spacecraft since the 1960s) should make some beautiful sunsets.

April 3, 2007 @ 11:48 pm | Comment

Spend invaluable resource to chase a happy yet epic dream on the moon while millions suffer on the earth. IMHO, that’s stupidity underlined by indifference.

Uh, what’s new? ๐Ÿ™‚

April 4, 2007 @ 12:13 am | Comment

Does anybody remember soon after China’s first manned space launch they said they would send a man to the moon by 2010? I am sure I heard or read this. They are great at promising something but when the time comes they just don’t bring it up again.

If they get the rover up there I am sure it cause an accident.(Joke:) and the nationalists hope to find no evidence of the American landing.

April 4, 2007 @ 12:14 am | Comment

How about plain old human curiosity? If you look back to all human advancements in history, most of them started as some expensive hobbies that at time seemed to be total misallocation of fund at a societal level. There have been always collectivists self-righteously trying to stop them, but thank goodness those with pioneer spirit have moved along despite of them.

If you were sent back to the Middle Age, would you be able to help bring human race back to the modern age? If you would not, you are just hitching for a ride. Stop disturbing the drivers.

April 4, 2007 @ 12:42 am | Comment

the r&d project for space landings and whatever help develop science in other fields; having smaller nuclear energy generators is one i can think of.

if it didn’t, why the hell would anyone have gone to the moon? to stir up national pride in retards? that alone isn’t worth the price.

April 4, 2007 @ 1:10 am | Comment

“without wanting to sound like a broken record, all that will happen is that china will kick off another space/arms race, and given the problems they have it is not one they can win. i thought they learnt the lessons of the soviets?”

It is interesting that when China announced its space program, it didn’t say that we want to outrun U.S. in this area. I don’t think any intelligent Chinese would seriously consider the racing with U.S. in space program. It seems to me that Bush’s reaction shows that he put national pride at stake here. Seriously, Bush probably wants to use moon plan to prove U.S. is still the no. 1 in space (I dont think anyone would doubt this.) IMO. Or maybe it is another trick like “Star war”.

April 4, 2007 @ 1:24 am | Comment

“Is it, however, worth the cost in terms of China’s day to day challenges, and could the money be better spent elsewhere? I’m just asking. ”

Regard to the priority, if you are talking about to cut corruption, eliminate overstaff in government, or cancel the projects like national opera theater to save money for education and medicare, you are totally right.

But space program? I will repeat that it is an important investment in R&D, hunman capital, technologies spin-off and ad. for export. I think China can handle both sapce program and education at the same time.

April 4, 2007 @ 1:33 am | Comment

Moon? Mars? There’s no viable food or medicine or fuel there for us.

Let’s try time travel instead. (‘Course the Stephen Hawking cronies will want to rescind any licences from the scientists who want to do that!) Or teleportation to a distant galaxy with actual intelligent life on it.

April 4, 2007 @ 2:04 am | Comment

While we’re at it, why not try supplying massive funding to reignite the search for the Philosopher’s Stone?

April 4, 2007 @ 2:08 am | Comment

I am all for space expolration. Go China go!

By the way. The dofu-theorie is a myth. Moon is made out of cheese.

April 4, 2007 @ 3:31 am | Comment

China has a responsibility to diversify her spending. This means paying for events like the Olympics and trips to the moon. We don’t know whether there are really He-3 resources on the moon, nor do we really know whether there are any advantages to any of these other programs… but that uncertainty gives me all the reason I need to support these programs.

Space exploration isn’t a luxury; I see it as a necessity.

We don’t know how the future will unfold, and much as a child should be “well-rounded”, China as a nation needs to have balance in development.

April 4, 2007 @ 4:36 am | Comment

JXie,

Curiosity. Whose curiosity? That of millions of tax payers who struggle on a day to day basis to make a bare living, who dare not go see a doctor when they are sick, who don’t even dream of being able to afford their kids to college, who could’ve turned their lives around had there been any organized assistance? Then how about some help on the deteriorating environment so thousands of infants aren’t born with horrible defects? How about some help on the high crime rate so people don’t have to put stupid bars on their doors and windows? How about a glass of milk everyday for those “State’s Tomorrow’s” whose family can’t even afford it?

I can go on like this all day. China is not a rich country, yet, and it has problems that directly relate to the well being of its citizens and the sustainable development of itself. Each and every problem requires vast resources given China’s size. Why turn your back to these tangible and urgent problems for some vague promise of making the history?

Throughout China’s history, well, the whole human history for that matter, there has never been a shortage of self righteous people who go on with their expensive hobbies despite of the needs of others and public good. I’m pretty sure you have a much better knowledge on this subject than I do.

But it is when the elites of a nation put more care and attention on the less fortunate and disadvantaged members, as well as the society as a whole, should we say this is a strong nation.

Walking on the moon, or a rover on the moon, brings pride, maybe. But not so much more than a ten million dollar yacht. It is just what you described, an expensive hobby. And today’s China doesn’t need such an expensive vehicle to catch the world’s attention.

锦上添花不如雪中送炭,what do you think?

April 4, 2007 @ 5:22 am | Comment

I am COMPLETELY, TOTALLY with sushi-monster on this.

Decadent pursuits in abundance…using resource and environment depleting materials for possibly futile researches.

Thus my facetious previous two posts. The sixties? At least they were a time of hope…and relative abundance. Now? Look how our health is deteriorating! Look how few trees we have. And don’t give me that blasted line about how research and exploration can change all that! Why haven’t we been taking care of what we have. It’s these blasted conservatives who go on about the ECONOMY, as if its a fetish of theirs. They have no respect for others, for life (even though most of them are “pro-life” or “anti-abortion” what they want to be called), because they go on attacking the poor, or those who stand up for them. You onlyh have to look at the dementoes (a neologism of mine, I guess) at http://westernstandard.blogs.com or michellmalkin.com, etc. The list goes on. Please, let’s just think about being responsible, not allowing people to go on their rampant spending fees (does Donald Trump really need another airplane? after the dozens he already has? does he really need ten more skyscrapers? after the ones he already has? and when people cite the goodwill work he’s done? well boo hoo yeah yeah for him, because it’s a pittance in comparison with the amounts of resources he’s keeping from people). You really have to respect people when they decide to stop working.

I don’t know about Bill Gates. Perhaps he is genuine. Still, and all, he has been greedy all these years, and he doesn’t really need to have amassed as much as he had. Rich is fine. Really rich is fine. But super-mega-f–ki–g-unbelievably unreasonably reach doesn’t get anybody anywhere. It’s probably being a real jerka-s.

Isn’t it reasonable for me to think this? I really can’t see otherwise, for now.

April 4, 2007 @ 5:51 am | Comment

Oh boy, this is taking a turn to left vs right. Here is a question to you, Thoth Harris. Should Bill Gates who in a good year likely pays more federal tax in one day than you in your whole lifetime, have more say on how much government money to be spent on space programs? BTW, you are so not getting Trump’s name and real estate development nowadays.

Walking on the moon, or a rover on the moon, brings pride, maybe. But not so much more than a ten million dollar yacht.

Sushi-monster, for some reasons I just feel very sorry about you as a human being — you are missing so much the fun parts to be alive. For starter, watch the Discovery Channel more, pal. There has been nothing like space exploitation to gain knowledge in so many disciplines, and parade that unyielding human spirit to the high heaven.

April 4, 2007 @ 7:07 am | Comment

When is the right time to invest in scientific exploration, I wonder? Is there a society on this planet devoid of crime, poverty, and disease? Was there not arguably other unmet social needs in the United States during the ’60s, during the height of the US space program? (The US chould’ve plowed Apollo money into Watts instead.)

But do you get GPS and earth monitoring satellites today without investment in space programs 4 decades ago?

Who knows where the moon program will take us? Do you know for a fact that He-3 isn’t available on the moon? Do you know for a fact that human colonization of the other planets aren’t a critical factor to our continued existence as a species?

These expenditures represent a tiny % of Chinese GDP. The potential marginal utility of a $100 million space project, IMO, outweighs the utility of putting one more dollar into the pockets of 100 million poor Chinese.

April 4, 2007 @ 10:21 am | Comment

“It may advance the development of new technologies.”

Like what? An oversized Mars rover powered with a nuclear decay battery ala 1965. China must’ve bribed a retired soviet space scientist for some really old designs.

This “probe” is probably just full of red paint to mark out China’s newest “Tibet”.

April 4, 2007 @ 11:01 am | Comment

nanheyangrouchuan,

I know this is no more than your typical poo-flinging, but I’ll leverage your post to post a reply for those of us not sitting at the kid’s-table.

The United States doesn’t have the ability to return to the moon right now, because the technology base behind the Apollo mission has been lost/obsoleted.

NASA’s administrator recently proclaimed that China will likely return to the moon (in terms of physical landing) before NASA could. I think that may be a bit of an exaggeration in an attempt to get more funding… but to put it mildly, the horizon is wide open for further exploration down this path.

April 4, 2007 @ 11:43 am | Comment

JXie,

No need to pity me, mate. I’ve got plenty of fun in my life at this moment and foreseeable future. Discovery Channel is overrated. Hard core science fans watch Good Eats. I watch plenty of those (probably too much)…anyway, but that’s not the point here. The quality of my life is irrelevant to the question at hand, wouldn’t you think?

Please note I didn’t make a blanket statement against all scientific explorations. You were quite sneaky though, I have to say. We are weighing this project, in particular. And that’s all I was referring to. And you have yet to come up with something more serious than “fun” (again?) to convince me.

April 4, 2007 @ 12:08 pm | Comment

If China doesn’t develop their own space technology, then they’re going to go nowhere fast. The US has banned China from buying and using US space technology over the past few years due to fears it may be used for military purposes. Other countries like Russia and France has cooperated with the US for the benefit of both sides. I’m not sure but I believe of the countries with advanced satellite technology and launch capabilities, only China has restrictions from the US.

Chinas has asked formally to participate in the building of the International Space Station but that has been vetoed by the US.

To slow down technology transfer and exports, the US has made it very difficult for China to launch any US satellites as they would need an export license which is never granted by the State Department. Any foreign country or company launching a satellite using American made parts also cannot use China’s rockets without permission from the State Department. To do so would run the threat of sanctions. This has crippled Chinaโ€™s commercial satellite launch industry. Between 1990 and 1998, China launched 29 foreign satellites. After the license restrictions were imposed, China has not launched a single foreign satellite.

We can debate whether China should spend the money currently used on their space program and other technology programs to other purposes such as the poor. On the other hand, it’s very unlikely any other country is going to share or give them the technology.

April 4, 2007 @ 12:26 pm | Comment

JXie:
Your comments directed at me just reify my current position. It’s very sad you have to be so condescending. You also completely avoided confronting any of the real issues I was discussing, resorting instead, to personal attacks, innuendoes, and simplistic evasions.

Obviously you care little about life on this planet, or the future of life, more or less as it is. Some conservative you are, if that’s what you are (and left or right wasn’t the only or key point of my previous comment, Jxie). Isn’t it strange how the “conservatives” just want to keep taking and taking things from our planet, instead of trying to just slow down, or even stop and think about doing things a tad differently?

Sure, I use a cellphone here in Taiwan as so many people out there do. Satellite technology is a party of our life. I’m just as guilty as anybody. But the point I made is that our resources are dwindling. People and animals are suffering. How much should we do or not do in the future. Jxie’s thinking is so irresponsible and repulsive to me that I just want to bang my head against the wall. I am not going to resort to personal attacks like him.

Who cares if Bill Gates pays more taxes than I do? Hoarding has an element of sociopathic behaviour, as many of you must see? Another good example of this sort of thing is the monopsony that Walmart engages in.

I recommned a good film about greed and psychopathic behaviour. It’s called The Corporation, directed by Peter Wintonick. Very convincing arguments there, let me tell you.

April 4, 2007 @ 2:21 pm | Comment

I foresee the tech spinoff from this… China’s auto industry will move away from fossil fuels internal combustion to plutonium power!

And Beijing’s ring roads will summarily be converted in to high-speed particle colliders to see if China can produce sustainable room temperature plutonium fusion!

And it’s so nice to see CCT back and displaying such compassion for China’s poor. You’d almost think he was a counter-revolutionary capitalist roader.

April 4, 2007 @ 2:33 pm | Comment

Who cares if Bill Gates pays more taxes than I do?

Posted by: Thoth Harris

Gates might not pay more taxes than you do. And I’m pretty sure you pay more in income taxes than Microsoft. (at least the last time I checked, Microsoft’s income tax was pegged at zero.)

April 4, 2007 @ 2:36 pm | Comment

I think the CCP’s plan to go ahead with building up its space industry is one that has long term investment in mind. If not for developing satellites for commercial business purposes, their experience in launch vehicles can pave the way for the satellite launching business in the future. NASA has noted that a single $100 million launch contract is equivalent in economic terms to the import of 10,000 Toyotas.

NASA once published a report linking space tecnology spinoffs to 46 various industrial and commercial applications ranging from medicine, to composites, to the environment. Japan has its own version of the report, stressing that growth in aerospace leads to growth in other industry areas. MITI’s space industry tree branches out into automotive, energy and electronics industries, among others.

It might look like China is wasting enormous amount of money but if their vision is successful, spinoffs industries can supply the government with money from taxes. US defense and aircraft industries contributes tens if not hundreds of million in taxes.

April 4, 2007 @ 6:07 pm | Comment

@nanheyangrouchuan

“It may advance the development of new technologies.”

Like what?

Actually, I can answer you that question. It’s the Cheese-to- Jiaozi-converter. You might have wondered why it’s only the Americans who went up to the moon till now. Well, it’s the diet.
Take us Germans for example. No beer lakes on the moon, no Germans on the moon.
Same goes with the Chinese. No Jiaozi, no Chinese on the moon, as you would need a far to big rocket for all the Jiaozi feeding the astronauts. So they now bring that nuclear-powered Cheese-to-Jiaozi-Converter to the moon to transform the cheese, the moon is made of, into Jiaozi.

Actually that Cheese-to-Jiaozi-Converter is the product of a Sino-French joint-venture.
The French were very upset when they found out that the Americans never told them the moon is made out of cheese and they could have easily gone there.
So this Cheese-to-Jiaozi-Converter is sort of a revenge by the French.

April 4, 2007 @ 6:27 pm | Comment

ups, the blockquote didn’t work properly. “Like what?” should be inside it too.

April 4, 2007 @ 6:41 pm | Comment

The “order of priority” argument is stupid. I mean there’s always going to be needs and not enough resources to go around. So when exactly do you make an investment for the future?

Space exploration is important for China. China missed the boat in 15th century to explore the sea and paid dearly for it. The same mistake should not be repeated.

April 4, 2007 @ 6:44 pm | Comment

@feedmeister – “NASA has noted that a single $100 million launch contract is equivalent in economic terms to the import of 10,000 Toyotas” could you supply the link – i’d be interested in reading that article

April 4, 2007 @ 7:04 pm | Comment

I can understand that people oppose those projects which really waste taxpayers’ money, such as national theater, luxury government buildings…And I am with them.

When CCP does something good to help invest in technologies and train scientists, why are there so much negativity? A little confused here.

April 4, 2007 @ 11:10 pm | Comment

“could you supply the link – i’d be interested in reading that article”

Si, I don’t know where feedmeister’s source is. Here is a research paper about this issue. The link is :

http://www.gwu.edu/~spi/publications/NASA%20L.Vehicle%20Study%20V-5.pdf

April 4, 2007 @ 11:13 pm | Comment

@Falen

China didn’t miss the boat, the priorities changed.

April 4, 2007 @ 11:49 pm | Comment

“When CCP does something good to help invest in technologies and train scientists, why are there so much negativity? A little confused here.”

Let me help you understand this. Lots of commentators here see CCP as the root for all evil things in China, and they are following a similar doctrine, i.e., “Whatever their enemy oppose, they will support; whatever their enemy support, they will oppose”.

April 4, 2007 @ 11:54 pm | Comment

Steve, for everyone’s edification, is perhaps our earliest troll. I’ve never deleted him because, for all his vitriol, he’s kind of sweet.

April 4, 2007 @ 11:59 pm | Comment

Do you know for a fact that human colonization of the other planets aren’t a critical factor to our continued existence as a species?

– CCT

Fact 1, there is only one planet, by far, known to be friendly to life in the form as we know, among a gazillion systems in this universe. And that is….you guessed it, the earth.

Fact 2, the condition of this planet is deteriorating, fast.

Fact 3, even when the condition on this planet is going south, it is still the MOST friendly planet to life in this universe!

Fact 4, if we lose this planet, we’ve got no place to go. Not in foreseeable future.

Now, logic leads me to wonder, why on this beautiful earth, should one be spending millions on a remote controlled four wheeler and hoping by one gazillion th of a percent chance that there might be some poor planet he can “colonize”, while one knows for sure that

1. this ONLY KNOWN home to life is being ruined and things need to be done to stop it

2. if things keep going south, his children might not have much when he passes this planet on as a heritage.

3. and his children will DEFINITELY benefit from it if he could unselfishly focus more on not screwing up what he has?

So honestly, I think, for the sake of the species, let’s please realize Star Treck is entertainment.

April 5, 2007 @ 12:01 am | Comment

“China didn’t miss the boat, the priorities changed”

Boat here is referred to industrial revolution in 15-16 centuries. China did miss that opportunity and suffered a lot later. Some believe that the space technologies will be the keys for future industrial innovations, which China cannot afford to miss this opportunity.

April 5, 2007 @ 3:17 am | Comment

Revise:

Boat here is referred to Boat here is referred to The Age of Discovery in 15-16 centuries.

April 5, 2007 @ 3:25 am | Comment

Tom, what the heck are you talking about? You are so out of it that you’ve beat everybody reaching the Mars already while the reality still stays on the Earth. According to Microsoft’s 2006 10-K, income tax provision was at $5.6 billion (not all to US government). Gates’ tax liability on Microsoft’s 2004 $3 per share special dividend alone was at $495 million.

Harris, if going back to the Stone Age makes you happier, please go alone.

April 5, 2007 @ 5:58 am | Comment

” know this is no more than your typical poo-flinging, but I’ll leverage your post to post a reply for those of us not sitting at the kid’s-table.
The United States doesn’t have the ability to return to the moon right now, because the technology base behind the Apollo mission has been lost/obsoleted. ”

CCT, your lack of technical expertise is obvious. The technology is old but not obsolete, hybrid engines, fuel cells, lithium ion batteries and flywheels are were not obsolete when they were used to go to the moon and they are not obsolete now. The technology isn’t lost either, NASA knows right where it is, either in boxes or sold for scrap.

The need for improved ships is one of safety, comfort, operational flexibility and the need to establish permanent outposts. China’s not going to get help from anyone, not even the Russians.

April 5, 2007 @ 7:39 am | Comment

fatbrick’s link is good. You can try googling the phrase “$100 million …. Toyotas”. It’s quite a well-known quote at a time of purportedly paranoia of America in the face of Japan’s increasing competitiveness in the 90s. Same issues, different flavor.

April 5, 2007 @ 8:23 am | Comment

@nanheyangrouchuan,

I’m probably on pretty good grounds discussing “technical expertise” with you. Let’s leave it at that.

I think the unintentional comedy of this statement stands for itself…

“The technology isn’t lost either, NASA knows right where it is, either in boxes or sold for scrap.”

April 5, 2007 @ 12:38 pm | Comment

“I’m probably on pretty good grounds discussing “technical expertise” with you. Let’s leave it at that.”

I’m not talking about some fruity IT/website garbage. Much of the rocketry engineering already exists, as well as the sensors, life support, computer, landing and navigation technology. The only thing NASA’s contractors need work on is the capsule fabrication and the new landing craft, as well as bringing up pre-positioned supplies for successive crews.

It is actually disappointing for Americans to see NASA to retro after the shuttle.

Go play with your “my space” web boy.

April 5, 2007 @ 2:40 pm | Comment

nanheyangrouchuan,

I have a graduate engineering degree from MIT, and my profession of trade is in embedded systems similar to those used in space systems. I’ve had several of my projects/products used on STS missions.

Do you happen to know how NASA would get access to the “computers”, “life support”, and “sensors” used in Apollo? Perhaps just unwrap it from storage, dust it off, power it up, plug it in, and go to work?

Apollo-era systems may have less processing power than your TI calculator, but that doesn’t mean your TI calculator can plug into a space mission. Apollo-era systems are built with now-obsolete manufacturing processes using now-obsolete components programmed using now-obsolete programming paradigms powered by now-obsolete power systems.

Try to rebuild your circa-1985 DOS PC, and then ponder the difficult of getting a circa-1960 millions-of-lines/all-custom-built system up and going with the reliability needed to support a space mission.

Newsflash: NASA didn’t go “retro” from the STS because it was cool or bored. It went retro because it found itself down an evolutionary dead-end, and are now retracing steps to recreate capabilities it last had 4 decades ago.

Apollo doesn’t take off again unless NASA pays to rebuild the entire system, from scratch. That’s essentially what NASA’s been tasked to do, by the way; assuming you believe they have the ability to pull it off, the scheduled date for the next US moon mission is 2020.

April 6, 2007 @ 3:37 am | Comment

nanheyangrouchuan knows so much about everything. NASA should truely listen to him.

April 6, 2007 @ 4:03 am | Comment

Well, before we go on any further about how many wonderful things this four wheeler, or six wheeler, can do on the moon, here’s some down to earth news flash.

According to Fuxing Li, Director of Emergency Responder Training Center of Red Cross Beijing, primarily due to the air pollution, the average life span of traffic police officers in China is 45.

Kind of puts things in perspective, doesn’t it?

April 6, 2007 @ 6:14 am | Comment

“Apollo doesn’t take off again unless NASA pays to rebuild the entire system, from scratch. That’s essentially what NASA’s been tasked to do, by the way; assuming you believe they have the ability to pull it off, the scheduled date for the next US moon mission is 2020.”

The rockets already exist, if we were going just to “beat China, Russia, India or France” it wouldn’t take as long. We are going to set up permanent settlements.

“Apollo-era systems may have less processing power than your TI calculator, but that doesn’t mean your TI calculator can plug into a space mission.”

Yes, the software does have to be specialized, but now NASA can dig up the old logic flows from the Apollo era instead of building from scratch.

April 6, 2007 @ 11:12 am | Comment

I frankly don’t know much about either space program (though the “Mythbusters” episode on China’s Ming dynasty “rocket chair” was pretty funny) nor do I have nearly the technical expertise of CCT, but I’d like to add a quick comment about the industrial revolution.

This question of how/why did China miss out on the industrial revolution took up a lot of energy and research in the 20th century and after much deliberation, it seems we looked at the question all wrong. It’s not why DIDN’T the IR happen in China, but more why DID it happen in western Europe. There is no one evolutionary model for industrial development. Ken Pomeranz has a interesting book in which he suggests that England benefited more from cheap and plentiful coal and access to overseas colonies than it did from any kind of work ethic or other culturally-specific reason. There are flaws with Pomeranz’s book to be sure, but the larger issue, assuming one path for development, is something we need to leave behind in the last century.

April 6, 2007 @ 2:58 pm | Comment

the quickest answer to the question is that europe was untouched by the mongols, and from there on you have all the other factors you mentioned coming into place. also, internal conflict aggregated wealth in various pockets of europe throughout its history; and then of course there’s the slaves, stolen resources, more arable land than china, etc.

the question should be instead, why was europe so far behind china for say.. 1500+ years?

April 6, 2007 @ 3:37 pm | Comment

Jeremiah,

I think most in China wouldn’t look to Western Europe as an immediate point of comparison when considering the non-existent IR. The cultural/historical differences are too large.

I think Japan is the more common point of reference. These were very similar countries with very similar traditions until the middle of the 19th century. By the beginning of the 20th century, the difference between China and Japan were night/day.

Why? After all, Japan had no access to overseas colonies or “cheap and plentiful” coal when she began her industrial revolution. Far less than China, certainly.

Many would argue the Chinese empire was blinded by the arrogant belief that new solutions weren’t needed for “old” problems. Japan saw things differently, and the rest is history.

nanheyangrouchuan,

I think you’re perfectly clear that you don’t know what you’re talking about. Just let the thread end.

April 6, 2007 @ 3:50 pm | Comment

CCT: your fear makes the air stink.

“the quickest answer to the question is that europe was untouched by the mongols”

No, Europe had its monkey on its back aka the Roman Catholic Church. China never had a cultural Renaissance like Europe had, every time one took root, Chinese authorities eliminated its creators, and again, China is on the verge of a real renaissance, what will happen?

“the question should be instead, why was europe so far behind china for say.. 1500+ years?”

Why was China so far behind Egypt and the middle east?

April 6, 2007 @ 4:44 pm | Comment

The question should really be,

Can we not focus on one topic?

April 7, 2007 @ 6:02 am | Comment

NHYRC, don’t be another Ivan, please. If you don’t hv a clue about the technical aspects of the NASA debate, admit it and shut up about it.

China does need much more cash put into its space sector, and needs to create an educational system purpose-built for churning out a vast number of dutiful engineers and technicians, stuff them in military complexes, and make them work on space and military tech day and night–it would solve the problem of college graduate unemployment rather quickly.

April 9, 2007 @ 10:43 am | Comment

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