Space Race Begins, Moon Landing for China

Space Race
China successfully completed a moon landing in Dec. 2013 with their rover named Jade Rabbit and a new space race begins. The moon has not had a human visitor to its surface since 1972, when the United States’ Apollo 17 mission left the moon. In December of 1972, Astronaut Gene Cernan took the last step on the moon. His transmission back to the Earth was a message of hope for man someday to return to the moon. In 1961, President John F. Kennedy announced that the United States would land a man on the moon and return him safely to earth before the end of the decade. Cernan believed that Kennedy’s challenge to the nation and the world had written man’s destiny to explore space.

Since 1976, no nation has landed or stepped foot on the moon. For 39 years, the moon has been silent. No transmissions, no photographs, and no national pride in a great adventure.

In December of 2013, China took to spaceflight and has landed on the moon, according the Xinhau news agency. The state-run news outlet announced that Jade Rabbit had touched down on the lunar surface and that China had arrived on the world stage of space exploration. They are now among the superpower nations to achieve a lunar landing. But does a moon landing for China indicate a new space race will begin among the great nations? NASA experts say that while the U.S. cannot ignore the fact that China and other nations are entering space exploration, there is little budget money available for another moon landing. It appears that the U.S. will remain focused on Mars.

However, there is a call from many experts and astronauts to begin a cooperative program with nations like China and India, who is also planning to join the space race. Astronaut Buzz Aldrin recently stated that even though funding for space programs are far below where a superpower like America should be, we should at the least be involved and support other nations as they head into space. Aldrin also said that the way for America to stay in the forefront of space exploration is to help countries like China with their programs.  Aldrin also felt that due to lack of leadership and funding of the space program, the United States was losing the ability to inspire a nation and educate the next generation.  However, an existing U.S. law prohibits NASA from working with China on space exploration.

Canadian Astronaut Chris Hadfield is also calling for cooperation with other countries and their space exploration missions. Hadfield was the first Canadian astronaut to command the International Space Station. Hadfeld had flown on an American space shuttle to assist in building a Russian spaceship. He stated that this was the type of international cooperation that should be the model for the future.

China is not alone in the advances of space exploration. Aerospace consulting firm Futron Corporation has reported that along with China’s moon landing a new space race may have already begun. Their report states that there are at least 70 nations with space programs. The leading countries are Russia with 32 launches, U.S. with 19 and China with 15. Other nation of note is Iran who has announced its plans for manned space exploration.

Written by Anthony Clark

LA Times
Science Recorder
Washington Times Communities

12 Responses to "Space Race Begins, Moon Landing for China"

  1. Kevin Holm   December 29, 2013 at 6:51 pm

    Space race. Doubt it. When our President and Congress killed off the shuttle program with out an alternate ship in place we as a country basically killed off manned flights to space for years and years to come. When NASAs hands were cut off, our government basically said we are willing to pay millions to Russia to get us to space for the perceivable future.

  2. Steve Redmond   December 29, 2013 at 6:04 pm

    China will plough ahead methodically while we fritter and fuss in Fables went to the tortoise. Slow and steady wins the race. In the not too distant future China will look at our space program through their rear view mirror and we will wonder what happened to our leadership in space. GOP no plans for nothing will turn us into a third rate country if they keep getting elected.

  3. Tony   December 29, 2013 at 10:03 am

    Thank you for pointing out my mistake in the report. I will update the story as soon as possible.

  4. Anton Szautner   December 29, 2013 at 9:55 am

    Andres Bustamante, like all hoaxers, is deluded as well as ill-informed. The landing footage of Change-3 clearly and obviously shows lunar dust kicked up by its decent engine as it landed.

    • Reva Madison   December 29, 2013 at 5:54 pm

      Space race begins? Uhhh, maybe the editors need to look by a few decades at other news articles. Just in case you cant find it, mankind HAS already landed on the moon – not only spacecraft, but GASP, actual people. And as for the idiots who think it was all a fake, back then, I am sorry for you, but maybe you need to go seek medical (I.E, mental) help. Do you also believe the sun rotates around the earth?

      • Kevin Holm   December 29, 2013 at 7:07 pm

        You do have a point, we have been to the moon. But unfortunately our country will not be visiting there anytime soon since we no longer have a space vehicle that can get us there. China is looking at the moon and beyond for what it can provide them – resources. They are looking at it for mining purposes because of its high content in very useful and needed minerals. Our planet has a finite amount of resources within it. China and a few other countries are looking at the moon as well as asteroids as a basis for mining operations.

        For China, I see this flight as a means to find out what is available. Having manned flights is probably not all that important now since robots can do a lot of the heavy lifting. And frankly, China has a whole lot more money for space exploration, something the US once had and once were excited in doing – going where no man had been before.

  5. Anton Szatner   December 29, 2013 at 9:52 am

    kenramsley is quite right, and I agree totally. I wish to correct my post to reflect that the first two whole paragraphs of the article are incorrect, and that the rover mentioned was Lunokhod 2, not 3.

  6. Andres Bustamante   December 29, 2013 at 9:51 am

    China never landed on the moon. The moon’s surface is similar to talcum powder. There is no evidence of surface disturbance due to the landing vehicle’s reverse thrusters and not a drop of dirt on the landing vehicle itself. China is either making an obvious mockery of the lies the United States promoted during the Apollo era or they are simply doing a worse job than what NASA did faking astronauts walking on the moon. Regardless, China is not on the lunar surface.

  7. kenramsley   December 29, 2013 at 9:44 am

    Currently, the highest US priority in lunar science is to land a sample-return mission in the South-Pole/Aiken region of the lunar far side, and this will probably be funded in the next ten years or so. We actually cooperate quite a bit with the Russians and, if fact, the Russians landed a near-side lunar sample-return mission as late as 1976 and we have located most of their landing sites from orbit. Although planetary scientist don’t keep score, in reality, the US is still well ahead of everyone else in lunar science and exploration, and there no need to repeat a race that we won 44 years ago.

    Goofy funding schemes and flash-pan space races aside, the US has been actively studying the Moon from orbit in recent years in cooperation with whoever else happens to be there, too. Rather than instigating a big nationalistic flag-waving touch and go exercise that loses public interest as soon as the first mission begins, it’s time for the pundits and commentators to start acting like grown-ups.

  8. Anton Szautner   December 29, 2013 at 9:40 am

    The second sentence of this article is incorrect. Three Luna craft – 21, 23 and 24, the last in August of 1976 – successfully landed after Apollo 17. Luna 21 deployed the Lunokhod 3 rover in 1973 which journeyed a record 37 kilometers. Luna 23 and 24 were sample return missions.

  9. Tony   December 29, 2013 at 9:36 am

    Thanks for the comment Al,
    I believe you may be on to something! Creative financing may be the way to get the U.S. space program back on track.

  10. Al Alias   December 29, 2013 at 8:53 am

    NASA may need to seek funding through Kickstarter. Another possibility is a national lottery that pays out only minimal cash prizes but offers opportunities to participate in various ways such as observing launches or hanging out in the mission control center, or getting a star or exoplanet named after you, and of course the big prize would be the chance to visit the International Space Station or even go to the moon or Mars. Other prizes might include a small moon rock or various pieces of NASA-related memorabilia.

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