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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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RE: what?
By therealnickdanger on 3/17/2007 8:56:22 PM , Rating: 2

Yeah, if by "before", they mean nearly 40+ years after we have already been there six times. I know the context is "before we return to the moon", but still.

RE: what?
By someguy123 on 3/18/2007 3:02:15 AM , Rating: 3
i find it incredibly odd that during the time we landed on the moon we did so six times in a row, and yet we have not been able to replicate any similiar results since.

what the hell is nasa doing with all the money they recieve? the only good thing I've seen come out of them for the past forty years was the tempurpedic mattress.

RE: what?
By Griswold on 3/18/2007 5:35:04 AM , Rating: 5
You got it all wrong. You need to see the big picture, what was NASA doing during the 60s and 70s besides pursueing goals that ultimately resulted in the moon landing? Not to mention that the race to the moon was politically motivated and immediately halted after public interest in it faded.

And what is NASA doing now with alot less money? Alot more differntiated and valuable research, I'd say. And once they're back on the moon, the research they will do there will also be alot more valuable and serious than the (mainly) publicity trips in the 70's.

Compared to then, NASA's funding today is on life support.

"There is a single light of science, and to brighten it anywhere is to brighten it everywhere." -- Isaac Asimov
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