China pretty chuffed with lunar probe
'Another landmark achievement' declares prez
China's president Hu Jintao today described the country's Chang'e 1 lunar probe, which has successfully beamed back images of the Moon, as a "landmark achievement", Reuters reports.
Chang'e 1 reached lunar orbit at an altitude of 200km on 7 November. A subsequent snap released to the press released caused a bit of a rumpus when some claimed it was actually a doctored version of an image captured by the US defense department's Clementine probe in the mid-1990s (see pic: the Clementine image at the top, Chang'e 1 at the bottom).
This particular conspiracy theory was quickly debunked, as New Scientist explains.
Back at the Great Hall of the People love-in, meanwhile, president Hu declared that Chang'e 1 had "greatly stimulated the patriotic fervor of the entire Chinese nation", and reiterated that his nation's space ambitions were "purely for peaceful purposes".
China plans to launch its third manned rocket, Shenzhou VII, in October 2008, but recently played down reports that it intends to put a man on the Moon by 2020. ®
it's on TV - it must be true
I myself saw Captain Picard beaming onto his spaceship just last week.
It's not for me to tell anyone who wants to argue the toss with 'Moon hoax' conspiracy theorists that they can't or shouldn't do so. In fact, it's great that so many people are still willing to do it: the voice of reason *should* be heard in response to the mindless parroting of irrational nonsense.
But it's worth bearing in mind, as well, that no amount of argument, rational or otherwise, is going to change the conspiracy theorists' minds. Logic can't defeat the irrational: those who believe believe because they *want* to believe. They're hugely emotionally invested in their version of 'The Truth'. It is, in effect, a religion of sorts, and its followers can be as zealous and blinkered as the fanatical fringe of any other faith.
I see your moonrocks.....
and raise you a powertrain developer for the lunar lander.
My neighbor of about the first 20-odd years of my life was an unassuming gentleman by the name of Mr. Hoy. He owned a small farm down the street, which i visited frequently (probably much to his annoyance). By that time he had been retired for close to 20 years. Anyhow, the topic of what he used to do for a living came up. He was a meachanical engineer who worked for one of the subsidiary companies for program development under NASA. One night at a bar in Southern Florida, he was asked for ideas about a drivetrain design for a rover that was to operate under lunar conditions while being light enough and compact enough to stay within allowances for weight. The story goes that Mr. Hoy sketched out a design on a cocktail napkin while the other gentleman stuck to his promise to buy him another double-scotch.
From what I was told, the design was adopted virtually unchanged...presumably because the materials were readily available, the specs were maintained, and the rover development team was fast approaching a demonstrational deadline.
Mr. Hoy retired 2 years later in his mid-50s. So, my guess is that he was handsomely paid for his idea. It gives creedance (to me at least) that the moon landings were legit (any goofball could design a go-cart that could run around on a sound stage at earth-normal gravity and atmo conditions). HE had to observe rather strident power, weight, and envelope considerations, not necessary if they weren't headed for the moon to begin with. Hell, given a 6-pack of Guiness bottles and a hundred pounds of scrap steel, I could build a halfway convincing earth-bound rover for driving around a studio backlot.
Lunar rover? I will require a FULL case of Guiness, several pounds of unobtanium, and a cocktail napkin from Mr. Hoy.