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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: Hmmm...
By Ringold on 3/19/2007 1:20:37 PM , Rating: 2
Sure we do; if it's under a strong central authority with a culture of freedom and personal responsibility, where rights are upheld and all people treated fairly.

Which is precisely the opposite of the United Nations.

So when you get that fixed, I'll sign up. ;)

Not that I think a unified Earth would have any more drive for space exploration. I don't see why it would; most the world is poor, and if this 'unified Earth' was a "democracy", they'd vote to give themselves all the benefits out of government accounts they can (see:Europe), and spending any extra than the world already does in disunion would just be less money available for them to free-ride on. Looking ahead at dividends such expenditures would yield in the future is beyond the intellect of most free-riders, thereby not entering in to their little voting equations.

Hm. I guess I can't sign on to this one, not easily at least.

RE: Hmmm...
By Min Jia on 3/20/2007 1:37:40 AM , Rating: 2
A unified Earth would help because we no longer need to worry about national defense when there's only one nation on the planet, all that military spending can be directed to other areas including space exploration... not to mention free access to the world's nature resource.

RE: Hmmm...
By Ringold on 3/20/2007 10:13:08 PM , Rating: 2
Europe and Canada are only jokingly concerned about national defense compared to what's shaping up to be the poles of the multi-polar future world; USA, India, China, Russia (due only to lots of warheads), and some type of Middle-Eastern bloc. Yet I don't see Europeans on Mars, much less anywhere near the level of achievement of still-mostly third-world China.

Besides, that assumes there is trust between all partners in a unified Earth. Trust everyone at your own risk. I'll keep my guns. :)

RE: Hmmm...
By Ringold on 3/20/2007 10:17:42 PM , Rating: 2
Darn the lack of edit.

Anyway, to add to that, it's worth noting the greatest strides in the history of space were made during intense periods of NATIONALIST pride; America with Apollo competing against the Soviets, which also made great strides, and now China's program is almost 100% about national pride and very little else; it's astronauts are national heros. Europe lacks any united pan-European pride with the EU (any it does have is troubled with internal EU bickering), and has done nothing. Correlation?

“And I don't know why [Apple is] acting like it’s superior. I don't even get it. What are they trying to say?” -- Bill Gates on the Mac ads
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