NASA: China May Reach Moon Before U.S. Returns
March 17, 2007 8:17 PM
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Not only can the Chinese space program make it to the moon, it will get there before the U.S., according to NASA
NASA Administrator Michael Griffin told a House Committee on Science and Technology that the Chinese are likely to be the
next nation to reach the moon
, even before the United States. "If they wanted to mount a lunar mission, they could do so," Griffin said. The Chinese space program also has around 200,000 employees, while NASA has a workforce numbering close to 75,000.
Assuming NASA continues to receive the amount of funding it is currently getting, the space agency will be able to send astronauts back to the moon in 2019 -- an additional "few billion extra" will allow NASA to reach the moon in 2017. The Chinese government continues to funnel large amounts of money towards the nation's space endeavors.
Serious budget cuts and issues with the current NASA lunar program were the main reasons cited by NASA. Bart Gordon, chairman of the U.S. House science committee, recently said that NASA is
headed for a "train wreck"
if the space organization cannot get the funding that it needs.
With the pending retirement of the space shuttle in 2010, NASA also needs to finish the
Crew Exploration Vehicle (CEV)
on time after the shuttle is retired. "If the CEV is delayed even further, then we will cede leadership in human space flight at a time when Russia and China have such capabilities and India has announced its intention to develop them," Griffin said.
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If the US really wanted to go back...
3/17/2007 8:55:39 PM
Why not just bring back the Apollo program? Why try to re-invent the wheel and focus on new technology when we supposedly have been there and done it already? NASA will not need billions more since all of the engineering is already done. Just bring up the blueprints for the Lunar Rover to make another one ;)
Its a positive thing that China is putting pressure on the US, not unlike the USSR space race.
RE: If the US really wanted to go back...
3/17/2007 9:12:28 PM
The Apollo missions were to do experiments and to test the moon.
These new missions are to setup a permanent base on the moon to allow future spaceships to land and refuel, repair, etc. If we can setup a space station on the moon, going to Mars and beyond is possible.
RE: If the US really wanted to go back...
3/17/2007 9:16:14 PM
We could do the Apollo program again but it would even be more costly this time around. While we do have ancient drawings they are in archives on microfiche. The worst part is all of the tooling is gone to reproduce them. The saturn engines are now museum peices unfit for flight. and the tooling to reproduce them has been scrapped. The launch pads to launch them have been completely changed for the shuttle program also. The current plan is the most cost effective, It makes use of current launch facilities and a lot of the shuttle hardware is reused. The main problem is funding which only the President and congress can oppropriate. If you want to help right your elected officials and make known your support for the advancement of mankind.
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