Friday, October 26, 2007

China Builds Rockets Too

China has recently launched a probe that will travel to the moon, the beginnings of a multi-stage project that will take their space program to the next level. No mention of sending people to the moon. I wonder why nobody wants to do that anymore. Maybe now that it's been done, everyone realizes there's nothing more to be gained. I expect it won't be a popular destination until the International Space Station becomes big enough to be a mid-way point between earth and a station on the moon.

CNN has the full report.

China launched its first lunar probe Wednesday, the first step in an ambitious 10-year plan to send a rover to the moon and return it to earth.

The project's goal is to analyze the chemical and mineral composition of the lunar surface. The probe will use stereo cameras and X-ray spectrometers to map three-dimensional images of the surface, and to study the moon's dust.

The launch marks the first step of a three-stage moon mission. In about 2012 there will be a moon landing with a moon rover. In the third phase about five years later, another rover will land on the moon and be returned to earth with lunar soil and stone samples, Xinhua said.

In 2003, China became only the third country in the world after the United States and Russia to put its own astronauts into space.

I wonder if they make a giant oval "Made in China" sticker for such things...

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