China launched its second moon-bound rocket Friday, laying a foundation for a possible unmanned moon landing by 2013. With the launch of Chang'e-2, China aims to solidify its spot among the moon-faring nations, with the eventual goal of a manned landing.
The Chang'e-2 probe will take about five days to reach the moon, much faster than its predecessor three years ago, the Chang'e-1, which took almost two weeks. It will orbit roughly 62 miles above the lunar surface, before entering an elliptical orbit that brings it as close as 9.3 miles above the surface, according to the Xinhua news agency.
It will take high-resolution photos of the Bay of Rainbows, the region where Chinese officials hope to land a probe. China says it will send a moon rover on its next mission, according to the BBC.
The probe, named for a Chinese goddess who flew to the moon, launched on a Long March 3C rocket around 7 p.m. Beijing time.
China became the third nation to launch a human in to space in 2003. Its most recent manned mission was in 2008, when a Chinese astronaut performed a 15-minute spacewalk.
India and Japan also have their sights on lunar exploration, but Chinese plans have been under more scrutiny since the military shot down a Chinese satellite three years ago.
Good for them.
"Welcome! to the Federation Starship SS Buttcrack!!!"
China: Not just satisfied with scaring Republicans about world domination; now shooting for lunar domination.
It looks like they want to turn the Bay of Rainbows into the Bay of Yellow...
wouldn't be the bay of red, seeing as how they're commies n' all?
THERE'S NOTHING THERE...IT'S JUST MOON DUST. Please point your rocket to Mars. Thanks.
moon has Helium 3 fusion energy
I have a thought. If China, Russia, India, Japan, and others all live, manufacture, fight, and work in space while America is stuck on Earth, then national security will be greatly compromised. If we need to be at the forefront of space exploration to ensure the safety of me and mine, then I support space exploration a thousand per cent. We just need to find the right way to do it.
The Right Way:
1] American Heavy Lift Systems.
I know this is not the best way, but we will not figure out a better way if we outsource our complete national spacecraft development to the Russians. We need to learn from the space shuttle program and move on.
2] Privatization of Space.
If outer space was handed over to the desiring population, then progress would move at least a little bit faster. This is because of competition, which has shown to accelerate technological growth in the past. My examples are both of the world wars.
3] A Clear and Definate Mission.
NASA has been floating around in limbo for an unacceptable ammount of time. If the national space program is only a duck in the water, then the best American example is pethetic. NASA should be at the fore, supported by an army of private cooporations.
Space is just waiting to be explored, there's so much out there. It matters not how difficult it is to harness, only what we are willing to give up to assume our rightful place in the stars.
@No More Heros "It matters not how difficult it is to harness, only what we are willing to give up to assume our rightful place in the stars."
While I agree we should have a better space program along the same lines you have stated, the above statement sounds a little too much like manifest destiny. Who says we have a place among the stars? We aren't bound for the stars by some right, we just really wanna go there. Still, you brought up some good points.