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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3/18/2007 5:28:16 AM
one thing that bothers me - 7 years after JFK said we would go to the moon, back in the 60's we do it; man lands on the moon. Computers less powerful than pocket computers and we can do it in less than 7 years. Rocket technology marginally better than WW2 V2 rockets and 7 years later we do it.
Bush says the same thing in 2003, and this time its going to take 15-16 years to do - makes you wonder?
3/18/2007 10:28:25 AM
Lack of funding.
American citizens don't care about space as much as they did in the 60's. That and I imagine that there are quite a few more rules regarding saftey and what materials can and cannot be used in the construction of our rockets and lunar landers.
3/18/2007 2:50:15 PM
You must keep in mind that NASA back then had all this funding for one thing, now it does allot of different things, it can't spend all it's budget on the moon mission, it has the shuttles to maintain, the new one to develop, the space station development and maintenance, and there has been allot of inflation since the 60s.
By there are 6 lunar lander bottom half up there on the moon, how did they get there if we didn't go there?
"Young lady, in this house we obey the laws of thermodynamics!" -- Homer Simpson
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