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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: Wow
By DZWAY on 3/17/2007 9:19:08 PM , Rating: -1
Kinda makes you wonder if we really went to the moon back in the late 1960's. Think about it, technolgy is so much more advanced, propulsion, materials, etc. How do you explain that it will take until 2019 to redo what we have already done? Its almost like saying the wright brothers flew but we need another 50 years to recreate the flight! Give me a break. Either we never went to the moon in the first place or we have complete idoits running NASA. If its the latter we might have to consider moving space development completely to the private sector to get some real results.

RE: Wow
By artbronze on 3/17/2007 9:33:56 PM , Rating: 2
Yea we went to the moon, my dad worked on it and he was really proud of his work. I witnessed a lot of it including Saturn V launches and I can tell you they were incredible. I've worked on the Shuttle in the VAB for a couple of years now and its a kick to see some of the reminders of the Saturn V days. The only thing keeping us from returning to the moon is funding and a national will to do so. The real question is do we want a moon base or a manned mission to mars?

RE: Wow
By Chernobyl68 on 3/18/2007 5:13:21 PM , Rating: 2
Myself, I'd prefer Mars for the moment. A manned lunar base is a serious long-term commitment of funds, and I'm not sure our government has the will to do that. Just look at the debacle (ie cost increases) the "International Space Station" became after we invited international cooperation because it was too expenive to do on our own. And they're planning to drop it in the ocean in several years. Granted there's no danger of the moon dropping our of orbit, but imagine what it would cost to supply a moon base.

RE: Wow
By jbs181818 on 3/17/2007 10:37:37 PM , Rating: 2
The only way the private sector could possibly do a moon base is if they could make money off of it and make it VERY safe. NASA is government funded research and don't have to worry about profits, at least not monetary ones. Once all this space tourism stuff takes off, it actually might eventually look promising for non-government funded space research and such.

RE: Wow
By Ard on 3/17/2007 10:48:40 PM , Rating: 2
It's funny because that's the same rationale I use. If the conspiracy theorists are to be believed, the fact that it's going to take us another 11 years (on top of the 39 that have already passed) and billions of dollars to duplicate something we've supposedly already done lends a bit of credence to their theory.

"Google fired a shot heard 'round the world, and now a second American company has answered the call to defend the rights of the Chinese people." -- Rep. Christopher H. Smith (R-N.J.)
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