China goes lunar
Satellite arrives, all looking good
Brief China's lunar probe has arrived in orbit around the moon after a twelve day journey. It slotted into place yesterday, after receiving orders to slow down some 200km from its destination. It will spend the next year scanning the surface and reporting back, with images and data, to mission control.
The satellite, dubbed Chang'e I, has joined a similar orbiter sent up by the Japanese space agency JAXA, which arrived just weeks ago. India is planning a mission to the moon next year.
But despite the current frenzy of interest in all things lunar, China was keen to downplay talk of a new space race. According to reports Long Jiang, deputy commander of spacecraft systems of China's lunar exploration programme, emphasised China's wish to work with the international community.
"We are willing to co-operate with the rest of the world to the benefit of humankind," the BBC quotes Long as saying. "But as to what kind of co-operation, it depends on specific circumstances."
Meanwhile Sun Laiyan, head of the China National Space Administration told state television: "We are all very excited. The orbiter has completed all its moves perfectly... This marks the first step in exploring deeper space." ®
Well, that's me convinced
All these years I've defended NASA and now I've seen the light.
The buggers have outsourced yet another job to China: I reckon they're getting the Chinese to knock up a cheapo Lunar Lander remnant and deposit it on the moon to make iit look like NASA have been already.
Once the Chinese have planted the fake lander, history will have been written.
If they want Hi-res pictures ....
Why don't they just point the Hubble telescope at the moon and take pictures? Surely if it can see distant galaxies, it can pick out lunar modules, B-52's and Red buses?? Perhaps it will even find the first-strike complex built by the evil Plutonian dog-bats coming to eradicate all the scientists that voted to demote Pluto from planet status.
China and language
Whether or not China does end up ruling us all, it probably is no bad thing to learn Mandarin - after all, they make up at least 1/6th of the world population, do they not?