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China flings humans towards "Heavenly Palace"
June 11, 2013 10:32 AM   Subscribe

Yesterday there were six humans beings in space. Today there are nine.

China has launched Shenzhou 10 (quick overview, detailed space geekery), its fifth manned space flight. The crew will spend 15 days in space, most of them docked to the Tiangong 1 space station.

CCTV has the launch video and further information about the Chinese space program
posted by Brandon Blatcher (91 comments total) 14 users marked this as a favorite

 
This doesn't seem to get a lot of news coverage in the US. Huh.
posted by GuyZero at 10:34 AM on June 11, 2013 [15 favorites]


Yesterday there were six humans beings in space. Today there are nine.

Good god, what a birthrate...

Oh.
posted by Tell Me No Lies at 10:36 AM on June 11, 2013 [8 favorites]


At this rate by next week there'll be thousands
posted by 2bucksplus at 10:37 AM on June 11, 2013 [15 favorites]


Good god, what a birthrate...

I see what you're saying, but that joke doesn't work after the One Child policy.

汉堡
posted by jaduncan at 10:37 AM on June 11, 2013 [3 favorites]


something something oh yeah well we can probably rebuild a 70 year old bridge once it actually collapses maybe.
posted by George_Spiggott at 10:38 AM on June 11, 2013 [3 favorites]


Go China! :)
posted by jeffburdges at 10:41 AM on June 11, 2013 [5 favorites]


Way to go China! But... last one to Mars is a rotten egg! :P
posted by sexyrobot at 10:49 AM on June 11, 2013 [4 favorites]


We Americans should tell the government that they won't believe what the terrorists are saying about them in space; maybe then we could get some funds to go back up there more often.
posted by MCMikeNamara at 10:49 AM on June 11, 2013 [13 favorites]


I think this is great. I have found it exhilarating to watch China's growth over the last twenty-five years.
posted by Ivan Fyodorovich at 10:51 AM on June 11, 2013


Go China! :)

+1

I also hope they get on with a manned Mars landing.

I never expected four decades dawdling on the part of the US after watching their successful manned moon landing. With China in the game now, I once again have hope that I will be able to see this human achievement in my lifetime.
posted by fairmettle at 10:51 AM on June 11, 2013 [5 favorites]


space race part 2 please


I want a Space America shirt in the next year or so made, thanks.
posted by kurosawa's pal at 10:54 AM on June 11, 2013 [5 favorites]


I honestly never thought I'd be cheering for an antagonistic relationship between the U.S. and China, but here's hoping U.S. pride gets wounded enough to get us off our asses.
posted by Tell Me No Lies at 10:56 AM on June 11, 2013 [5 favorites]


汉堡是用人做的!

Speaking of space missions, I think they're great! Having grown up with SF, seeing nations come together to reach out for the stars has a fantastical effect on me and it's probably one of the few times that I'd let the implicit sense of manifest destiny go by without questioning it. That said, there's about a million things right now that the US could be dumping money into like paying teachers more than just a living wage. Other than for a few niche developmental projects (rocket tech, some medical applications?) there doesn't seem to be much of a point to having yet another Cold War-esque race into space except to kegel our collective national dongs.
posted by dubusadus at 10:57 AM on June 11, 2013


Please let this turn into another space race. I don't even care who wins.
posted by cmfletcher at 11:00 AM on June 11, 2013 [15 favorites]


We'll have a renewed space program as soon as someone makes a convincing argument that it will increase quarterly corporate profits THIS YEAR.
posted by George_Spiggott at 11:00 AM on June 11, 2013 [16 favorites]


...here's hoping U.S. pride gets wounded enough to get us off our asses.

I think the US is more likely to make it a propaganda war this time. "Pff, there's nothing in space. Mars is a rock. They are wasting their time learning stuff when they could be making money. Typical socialists."
posted by DU at 11:01 AM on June 11, 2013 [2 favorites]


Pff, there's nothing in space.

Well, there's nothing we can eat or kill.
posted by colie at 11:04 AM on June 11, 2013


China has a space station now? Why have we heard nothing about this/how did I miss that?

Just did a quick Google about the ISS vs. Tiangong 1. The docking protocols are not compatible. That makes me sad.

Also, I'm listening to the extended version of World War Z right now and it has the thing with the ISS and a Chinese space station. While there is an uncomfortable bit of sinophobia (or at least a dislike of the current Chinese government, moreso than any other nations') in the book, this feels a touch weird. (Although the Tiangong program was first started in 1992, so there was something to base that on.)
posted by Hactar at 11:05 AM on June 11, 2013 [1 favorite]


here's hoping U.S. pride gets wounded enough to get us off our asses.

The Chinese space programme makes me happy, because it makes them happy. The Chinese people that I speak with are so pleased with China today, and this is another symbol of their progress. America and Russia have had long and epic space programmes. I don't hear much pride from Americans or Russians in their space programmes. It sounds a bit like, "been there, done that".

A few of my Chinese friends are so excited about space. They see it as a sign of the new China, and all the great things that are happening right now for them. It's a great energy.
posted by nickrussell at 11:06 AM on June 11, 2013 [12 favorites]


It's actually a special PSB team looking for Li Tianyi.
posted by Abiezer at 11:08 AM on June 11, 2013


"I honestly never thought I'd be cheering for an antagonistic relationship between the U.S. and China, but here's hoping U.S. pride gets wounded enough to get us off our asses."

For a long time I was a member of the Planetary Society. In fact, it was during a period when they decided to make a manned Mars mission their number one advocacy priority. I have a deep affection for manned space exploration.

However, I'm primarily interested in the science and the simple truth is that manned space exploration is 95% sentiment and 5% science. I was a lot more resistant to this point of view thirty years ago, but since then we've seen the rise of many, many amazingly fruitful automated missions throughout the solar system that have been quite inexpensive and just one manned Mars mission would dwarf the total costs of all these others missions combined. Having observed this play out, I'm now quite happy to trade manned space exploration for this vast amount of unmanned exploration producing amazing science.

That said, even when it's cheap and fast it still requires funding and the public doesn't care much about most of this science. The public does, however, tend to get enthused about manned space exploration. So I tend to think that the optimum is just enough of the human interest, high-profile manned stuff to keep the public happy to fund the stuff that really matters.

But I'll say that if I were Dictator-for-Life, we'd have both and there'd be a Mars colony right now. And nationalized health care. And guaranteed housing. And a pony.
posted by Ivan Fyodorovich at 11:09 AM on June 11, 2013 [10 favorites]


The docking protocols are not compatible. That makes me sad.

Can you just make some kind of an adapter ring? Seems like it'd be straightforward, but maybe someone here knows more.

I'm guessing they'd lose autofocus, for one
posted by echo target at 11:11 AM on June 11, 2013 [23 favorites]


Pff, there's nothing in space.

Warden: He painted a unicorn in outer space! So I'm askin' you, what's it breathin'?!
Homer: Air.
Warden: Ain't no air in space.
Homer: There's an Air in Space Museum!

Arrrrrghhhhhh the pain!
posted by RonButNotStupid at 11:12 AM on June 11, 2013 [3 favorites]


China has a space station now?

This is just the first version. They'll be deorbiting it after the Shenzhou 10 mission, to make way for another.

China plans to have a modular station in orbit around 2020.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 11:12 AM on June 11, 2013 [1 favorite]


Other than for a few niche developmental projects (rocket tech, some medical applications?) there doesn't seem to be much of a point to having yet another Cold War-esque race into space except to kegel our collective national dongs.

If we're talking about landing humans on Mars, I agree.

Pff, there's nothing in space. Mars is a rock.

The near-earth asteroids are also rocks, including mineral bearing rocks. Unlike Mars, it's relatively easy to transfer mass from there to low-earth orbit or to drop it to earth. One result: much cheaper satellites, of obvious benefit to people here on earth. With significant space-based manufacturing in place, an anti-global-warming sunshield at Earth-Sun Lagrange point 1 would become a feasible megaproject. A big space race could be very good for us here on Earth.

Robots first. No point sending people to the moon or elsewhere until we've built them a nice enough place to live that they don't need to come back.
posted by justsomebodythatyouusedtoknow at 11:12 AM on June 11, 2013


"Can you just make some kind of an adapter ring? Seems like it'd be straightforward, but maybe someone here knows more."

Probably if you reverse the ion flux in the aft jeffrey tubes, you could do it.
posted by Ivan Fyodorovich at 11:12 AM on June 11, 2013 [1 favorite]


Man is China still going into space? I guess space used to be cool but we are really into this thing called twitter now. Its crazy, you put in like 100 letters and everyone in the world reads it.
posted by Ad hominem at 11:13 AM on June 11, 2013 [10 favorites]


Can you just make some kind of an adapter ring?

I remember they made one back in the olden days for a joint USA-CCCP mission.
posted by pracowity at 11:13 AM on June 11, 2013 [1 favorite]


Can you just make some kind of an adapter ring? Seems like it'd be straightforward, but maybe someone here knows more.

That would require cooperation between the two agencies and NASA and the USA aren't interested.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 11:15 AM on June 11, 2013


If they would just make the space stations out of an artificially intelligent polymorphic exotic matter, they could simply merge them at will. Christ, do I have to explain everything to these people?
posted by George_Spiggott at 11:22 AM on June 11, 2013 [1 favorite]


Well, there's nothing we can eat or kill.

Except for 9 people.
posted by atbash at 11:23 AM on June 11, 2013 [16 favorites]


"That would require cooperation between the two agencies and NASA and the USA aren't interested."

That's not really the problem. It's the International Space Station, after all. There are a whole bunch of countries which are ISS partners. China isn't. It could be, but it would have to contribute to the project and, anyway, right now they're understandably focused on proving they can do this stuff entirely on their own. That they have the science, technology, engineering, industrial capacity, administration ... everything. The USA did it. The USSR did it. China wants to do it and more power to them.
posted by Ivan Fyodorovich at 11:24 AM on June 11, 2013 [1 favorite]


I remember they made one back in the olden days for a joint USA-CCCP mission.

The Apollo Soyuz Test Project. The Apollo spacecraft carried the adapter up, stored in the space where the LEM was loaded for the Apollo missions.

For the Mir, the Shuttle carried up the Russian built Mir Docking Adapter. This was more in the nature of an extension. We built a docking adapter into three of the Shuttles, but for clearance, they had to move one of the modules. The MDA provided the standoff room they needed, so they only had to do the "move Kristall over here and dock there" dance one time.

The system is called APAS, the Androgynous Peripheral Attach System. ASTP used APAS-75, with the US craft carrying the APAS-Apollo adapter. Mir used APAS-89, ISS uses APAS-95.

Not many points for figuring out the numbering scheme there!

Why China chose not to use APAS? Unknown, though they're doubtlessly using something similar. I suspect, if there was going to be a Chinese visit to the ISS, either a suitable interface could be flown up first, or China could build a Shenzhou spacecraft with then APAS-95 rather than the native interface.
posted by eriko at 11:30 AM on June 11, 2013 [2 favorites]


However, I'm primarily interested in the science and the simple truth is that manned space exploration is 95% sentiment and 5% science.

I'm afraid this is the same short-sighted view that others in this thread attribute to corporations and governments.

What do you think that 95% sentiment buys you? It buys you millions of people being willing, even eager, to open their wallets to do more and more of these projects for the next 40 or 50 years. People demand a space program now not because of umanned Sputnik in the 50s but because of manned Apollo in the 60s. You have to get people up there to excite people down here.

I'm pretty sure more people remember and love the Mercury program, which only put a due in orbit than the Mariner program which actually made it to other planets. That's money in the bank right there.

Manned space programs are an investment in space programs and the future of the human race.
posted by DU at 11:30 AM on June 11, 2013 [3 favorites]


How very cool. I especially like seeing someone doing this without just copying what was done before. It helps show what's essential and what's just an arbitrary choice/style. Like the astronauts waving to the cameras. It's different, and it almost seems wrong (Be Serious!), but when you think about it, why shouldn't they? Also, the rocket looked smaller than Apollos to me, but I really don't trust my sense of scale on things this big.

And I feel a little ashamed for not even having heard about the space station. Maybe it's just me not keeping up on things, but I would love to see the figures on how much coverage it's gotten in the U.S..
posted by benito.strauss at 11:31 AM on June 11, 2013


The docking protocols are not compatible.

Duct tape, covers from a few mission briefing binders, et voila. Or rather hé zhèlǐ.
posted by zippy at 11:31 AM on June 11, 2013 [1 favorite]


I thought that it was a story about human remains in space, and was looking to see what orbit it was in, to see how persistent it was going to be as space junk (like this).

I hope they have a safe stay and a safe return.
posted by the Real Dan at 11:33 AM on June 11, 2013


Good for them.
posted by aramaic at 11:39 AM on June 11, 2013


Okay, but how many Biebers does China have in space, huh?
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 11:45 AM on June 11, 2013


Not enough.
posted by arcticseal at 11:48 AM on June 11, 2013 [2 favorites]


China in space is something wonderful. Forget nationalities, there are humans up there and exploring, this something to be proud of.
posted by arcticseal at 11:50 AM on June 11, 2013 [7 favorites]


That's not really the problem. It's the International Space Station, after all.

Letting China visit, let alone join the ISS, requires all current partners to agree on that happening. The USA is staunchly against this, so it won't happen. The ESA like the idea of working with China, don't know about. Japan or Canada.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 11:51 AM on June 11, 2013


Heh. I love when folks celebrate manned space travel because it's bread and circuses.

This is a pretty good development, though not for the reasons that might quickly pop into mind. It's likely to do a trivial amount to advance science or advance the human race. What it does signal is a great advance in the prosperity of the world, where a country like China can afford to indulge such a vanity project at their leisure.
posted by 2N2222 at 12:07 PM on June 11, 2013 [1 favorite]


In all seriousness, I think that government contractors have become so addicted to incredibly beneficent sweetheart deals that short of a massive cultural shift comparable to the one-two punch of the Great Depression + WWII, the only way we're going to see a major new space initiative is if it's founded on the principle of public funding and private profits, and utterly without risk.

Basically Iraq-style no-bid contracts with cost-plus billing AND they get the patents on everything.
posted by George_Spiggott at 12:08 PM on June 11, 2013


manned space exploration is 95% sentiment and 5% science.

The applied science of keeping people alive in inhospitable environments is still science...and very useful.
posted by sexyrobot at 12:11 PM on June 11, 2013 [7 favorites]


When anyone ever says that manned spaceflight has no practical purpose, remind them that we did not know what formed the craters on the Moon* until Neil and Buzz went and got the damn soil samples for us.

*We were pretty sure they were impact craters from space rocks, but had no proof. Plus, there were geologists who staunchly believed they were remnants of lunar volcanos.
posted by Ghost Mode at 12:18 PM on June 11, 2013


I love how the astronauts waved to the cameras just after liftoff! And that was a beautiful plume behind the rocket. Good for them!
posted by ReeMonster at 12:19 PM on June 11, 2013


I'd love it if we focused on autonomous and semiautonomous space capability. For what it costs to keep a damp sniffy human going in LEO we could probably be mining asteroids for rare earth metals for our cellphones and building solar power satellites to cut down on fracking and mountantop removal mining. And it beats using similar technology to snipe guilty-by-association-probably teenagers over there in Ohwheresthatistan.
posted by George_Spiggott at 12:26 PM on June 11, 2013 [1 favorite]


We'll have a renewed space program as soon as someone makes a convincing argument that it will increase quarterly corporate profits THIS YEAR.

This is correct. And with NASA being part of the government, this is not likely to be the case. The way we get to Mars is to privatize space exploration. We award some giant government contract to some company or companies to run our space program.

Republicans do not like to fund government agencies because they feel that government employees vote for Democrats. Even worse, those government employees might give money to the Democratic party. Republicans love to fund things that give money or contracts to private people or corporations because those people or corporations will, in turn, make large contributions right back to the Republican party that gave them all that money in the first place.

So if space exploration is suddenly done by giving out contracts to the private sector, then you will find Republicans getting all patriotic about space exploration and voting to fund it at unprecedented levels.
posted by flarbuse at 12:28 PM on June 11, 2013 [2 favorites]


manned space exploration is 95% sentiment and 5% science.

Oddly, that describes most of my weekends.

Anyway, trying to justify manned spaceflight via science is a losing game. We do it because it's cool. That's the kind of country we are. We put people in a big box moving 5 miles per second, in SPACE. Because that's where the cool kids are.

We don't say "Hey Buzz! That was a great rock sample you took!". We say "Hey Buzz, remember that time you punched out a moon-landing denier? You are fucking AWESOME!"

We send humans because the only thing more gripping than watching 2.5 million pounds of fuel ignite is if we know there is a small group of people sitting on top of it. Watching NASCAR for the crashes is fun on a weekend, but waiting for that rocket to explode is the real deal.

And you know what? This is all as it should be. A country needs an identity beyond "Try to feed everyone and fight wars and stuff." It needs a hobby. Some character.

Now of course not everyone agrees with this so we have to make stuff up about why robotics just won't cut it and it's oh so important to get some spam-in-a-can up there. We know it's bullshit. You know it's bullshit. But it doesn't matter because we've got to get some up there. Because it's COOL.
posted by Tell Me No Lies at 12:36 PM on June 11, 2013 [1 favorite]


They built a manned space program very fast. At this rate they will be on Mars in 10 years. Guessing their meteoric advancement will suddenly level off once they reach the same as the USA technology.
posted by stbalbach at 12:43 PM on June 11, 2013 [1 favorite]


Way to go China! But... last one to Mars is a rotten egg! :P

They may want that egg as a prize if they win.
posted by Kabanos at 12:44 PM on June 11, 2013


Tell Me No Lies: " Watching NASCAR for the crashes is fun on a weekend, but waiting for that rocket to explode is the real deal."

Gross.
posted by lazaruslong at 12:47 PM on June 11, 2013 [4 favorites]


We'll have a renewed space program as soon as someone makes a convincing argument that it will increase quarterly corporate profits THIS YEAR.

This is correct. And with NASA being part of the government, this is not likely to be the case. The way we get to Mars is to privatize space exploration. We award some giant government contract to some company or companies to run our space program.


Um helloooo...It wasn't NASA that built Mercury, Gemini, or Apollo it was Boeing, Northrupp Grumman, MIT, Draper Labs, and a few hundred other contractors. NASA was just the project manager. Not much different than the current efforts except for one thing...the Presidential mandate, oh and those damn Russkies.
Also don't forget that at the time the Army and Air Force relied heavily on NACA and later NASA to develop, test, and launch various ICBMs, Satellites, and other nasty but necessary flying things.
A unique combination of the cold war, emerging computing power, and a dead president made the NASA of the 60's a very popular undertaking. However as soon as we made the Moon people lost focus and moved on to social programs, NASA lost presidential support after LBJ, and the Army and Air force had developed their own test programs.

So here we sit, floating in a tin can, high above the earth. Planet earth is blue and there's nothing we can do,,,,..
posted by Gungho at 12:49 PM on June 11, 2013 [4 favorites]


"When anyone ever says that manned spaceflight has no practical purpose, remind them that we did not know what formed the craters on the Moon until Neil and Buzz went and got the damn soil samples for us."

The soviets managed to bring lunar samples back to Earth via robotic missions. We absolutely didn't need to send humans to the Moon to do the science you're describing.

"The USA is staunchly against this, so it won't happen."

I've never heard anything about that. Your reference to how the ESA feels about it indicates that this is something you've actually read, and not an assumption. Could you provide more information? I find this very surprising.
posted by Ivan Fyodorovich at 1:06 PM on June 11, 2013


The point of it all?

A lot of money gets sucked into a space program of any kind, and to those who wonder why we don't use it to pay teachers or build bridges I offer this: you are using equipment that may not have been developed if we hadn't had a space program in the sixties. I realize, of course, that I can't actually prove that statement, but I'll stand by it just the same.

I say divert the money from the defense budget.

Go China!
posted by mule98J at 1:08 PM on June 11, 2013 [2 favorites]


At this rate they will be on Mars in 10 years.

No one will be on the Moon in ten years, let alone Mars 'cause there's little point and nobody wants to foot the bill.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 1:09 PM on June 11, 2013


Actually NASA and the other ISS partners have designed a docking standard for future space exploration in the hopes that it will be adopted worldwide. The specs are freely available, so if you want to build your very own space docking ring, have at it!

An International Standard provides the pathway for any entity, whether government or commercial, to develop a docking system that is compatible with others. Like computer standards such as USB, the goal of this standard is to enable creative, competitive implementations while supporting compatibility.

Releasing the NASA-specific implementation of this docking standard into the public domain is a challenge due to export control restrictions; however the NASA’s design will be compatible with the docking standard.

posted by zap rowsdower at 1:19 PM on June 11, 2013 [3 favorites]


Ivan, links about China, ISS and ESA comments:

http://nasawatch.com/archives/2012/03/china-as-a-new.html

http://www.spacenews.com/article/esa-chief-lauds-renewed-us-commitment-space-station-earth-science#.UbeHRGS9Kc1
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 1:23 PM on June 11, 2013 [1 favorite]


A lot of money gets sucked into a space program of any kind, and to those who wonder why we don't use it to pay teachers or build bridges I offer this: you are using equipment that may not have been developed if we hadn't had a space program in the sixties.

The actual money is less than 1/2 of 1% of the federal budget. It maxed out at 4.4% in 1966 and has been pretty steady at 1% and under for the past ~40 years.
posted by elizardbits at 1:28 PM on June 11, 2013 [8 favorites]


Hactar: “Just did a quick Google about the ISS vs. Tiangong 1. The docking protocols are not compatible. That makes me sad.”
It makes me angry. I'd have thought that a new spacefaring nation would make its docking system compatible with the freely available international standard, as zap rowsdower pointed out, just in case.

Having said that, 祝你顺利着陆,宇航员!
posted by ob1quixote at 1:48 PM on June 11, 2013


nickrussel: The Chinese people that I speak with are so pleased with China today, and this is another symbol of their progress

It's not like they don't have a track record in the exploration and discovery business. When Vasco da Gama landed in East Africa, the inhabitants were less than impressed with the glass beads he tried to use to buy their favour, and the ships he rode in on. Zheng He's ships had been 3 times the size, and he had dealt with them fairly and respectfully, not been all like 'LOOK AT THE SHINY BEADS!'.
posted by titus-g at 1:52 PM on June 11, 2013 [3 favorites]


Thanks, Brandon. I'm not sure how much Rep. Wolf is, er, representative of the overall stance of the US government (or NASA) with regard to this; but obviously as the chair of the subcommittee that controls NASA appropriations, he has considerable influence.

Stupid wingnuts who have just transferred their Cold War anticommunist paranoia to China. Argh.
posted by Ivan Fyodorovich at 1:56 PM on June 11, 2013


I'm primarily interested in the science and the simple truth is that manned space exploration is 95% sentiment and 5% science. I was a lot more resistant to this point of view thirty years ago, but since then we've seen the rise of many, many amazingly fruitful automated missions throughout the solar system that have been quite inexpensive and just one manned Mars mission would dwarf the total costs of all these others missions combined.

Hey - - that's just like when Queen Isabella sent the robotic fleet to the New World!!!
posted by fairmettle at 1:59 PM on June 11, 2013 [1 favorite]


Ooh, I think you just made the semifinals in the 2013 Bad Analogy World Tournament! (They're being held on Mars, so pack for cold weather.)
posted by Ivan Fyodorovich at 2:06 PM on June 11, 2013


That's a joke, son!
posted by fairmettle at 2:14 PM on June 11, 2013


Oh, sorry. I had lost calibration.
posted by Ivan Fyodorovich at 2:18 PM on June 11, 2013


So basically, the solar system is full of essentially free power, helium-3, planetoid-sized hunks of high grade ores and more hydrocarbons than we've got planet, but every now and then and at vast expense we stick a can of humans in low Earth orbit and say oooh, looky us, we can keep them from bursting. Still! Y'know, just like we could 50 years ago!
posted by George_Spiggott at 2:52 PM on June 11, 2013 [3 favorites]


Triplets born in space! Oh, wait, no.
posted by BrotherCaine at 3:04 PM on June 11, 2013 [1 favorite]


I want a Space America shirt in the next year or so made, thanks.

That'll be made in China too.
posted by mhoye at 3:05 PM on June 11, 2013 [2 favorites]


So basically, the solar system is full of essentially free power, helium-3, planetoid-sized hunks of high grade ores and more hydrocarbons than we've got planet

Thank god, just what we need - c'mon y'all, no more time for inspirational crap - it's time to build more stuff and burn more hydrocarbons!
posted by crayz at 3:15 PM on June 11, 2013


Who said anything about burning them?
posted by George_Spiggott at 3:19 PM on June 11, 2013 [1 favorite]


Tell Me No Lies: " Watching NASCAR for the crashes is fun on a weekend, but waiting for that rocket to explode is the real deal."
Gross.


I didn't say Americans were tasteful. You think NASCAR is popular because people like to watch cars go in circles for four hours?
posted by Tell Me No Lies at 3:49 PM on June 11, 2013


"You think NASCAR is popular because people like to watch cars go in circles for four hours?"

This is a pet-peeve of mine. I admit that I've heard of NASCAR fans sort of enjoying crashes; but I grew up in a racing family oriented toward Indycar racing, my dad and my uncles knew the Unsers, and all my life growing up when we watched races we feared and hated crashes. When one happened, it got very quiet and somber. And if you think that oval racing is simple because it's going in circles, you don't know anything about it.
posted by Ivan Fyodorovich at 3:57 PM on June 11, 2013 [3 favorites]


"You think NASCAR is popular because people like to watch cars go in circles for four hours?"

Sadly, yes. The wrecks are just a bonus thingie.
posted by mule98J at 3:59 PM on June 11, 2013


Can you just make some kind of an adapter ring? Seems like it'd be straightforward, but maybe someone here knows more.

Perhaps some sort of finger trap mechanism?
posted by indubitable at 4:07 PM on June 11, 2013 [3 favorites]


stbalbach: At this rate they will be on Mars in 10 years.

Their first manned orbital launch was in 2003, and now, almost ten years later, they've done their fifth. The United States' fifth manned orbital flight was just over three years after its first.

It was less than ten years from the United States' first manned launch to landing on the moon - in that time, they've basically gotten to being halfway through replicating project Gemini.
posted by Hatashran at 4:10 PM on June 11, 2013


Letting China into the ISS program would violate US law. Congress considers China a very dubious partner due to past issues with industrial espionage and particularly missile technology. It is not a policy thing; China would have to supplicate itself before the US Congress and apologize, pretty much. If you imagine that happening any time soon....
posted by dhartung at 4:12 PM on June 11, 2013


"It was less than ten years from the United States' first manned launch to landing on the moon - in that time, they've basically gotten to being halfway through replicating project Gemini."

To be fair, China is not in a race, so there's no hurry.

On the other hand, they are able to "skip" steps because the US and Russia have demonstrated how to do manned spaceflight. And their spacecraft is based on the Soviet Soyuz model.

That's not a knock against China. Just a reminder that spaceflight is hard and manned spaceflight even more so.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 4:19 PM on June 11, 2013 [1 favorite]


Awesome! They've made great progress.

You've got to remember the difference in resource allocations here. During the space race NASA had whatever it needed because they had to beat the Russians, while the Chinese space program is just one project of a very busy (and paranoid) nation that still has a large percentage of its population mired in poverty. I think it's wonderful that they keep funding a peaceful space program, instead of throwing all their money into aircraft carriers, drones or whatever.

Anyway, at this rate I believe it's quite likely they'll send an unmanned lander to the Moon in the next five years or so. And maybe something even cooler after that.
posted by Kevin Street at 4:21 PM on June 11, 2013


Anyway, at this rate I believe it's quite likely they'll send an unmanned lander to the Moon in the next five years or so.

Chang'e 3, a lunar rover and China's third mission to the Moon, is supposed to be launched this year. It'll be the first rover on lunar soil since the Soviets sent one in the '70s.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 4:31 PM on June 11, 2013 [1 favorite]


Oh wow, so even sooner! 2013 is quite a milestone year for Chinese space exploration.

But there is one possible problem hinted at in that article on the rover. The Chinese are very secretive, which is something of a change from other nation's civilian space programs. The Americans and Europeans and even the Russians have usually been open about the research they've conducted, with data released to the greater worldwide scientific community. Here's hoping the Chinese follow that trend.
posted by Kevin Street at 4:38 PM on June 11, 2013


And if you think that oval racing is simple because it's going in circles,

Sorry to keep this derail going but I have no illusions that oval racing is simple any more than I have illusions that Soccer is simple. I do know that Americans have a low tolerance for sports that consist of long periods of strategic jockeying for position with no intermediate scoring moments. Like Soccer. Or to this admittedly amateur observer, NASCAR.
posted by Tell Me No Lies at 4:42 PM on June 11, 2013


Americans generally aren't watching rockets take off waiting for the explosion that signals a national tragedy. It's strange to me that you think that's the case. You started the weird derail with that gross comment, and I'm happy for it to end, but I couldn't let it slide.
posted by lazaruslong at 4:49 PM on June 11, 2013


Fair enough.
posted by Tell Me No Lies at 6:02 PM on June 11, 2013 [1 favorite]


Okay, but how many Biebers does China have in space, huh?

None. They've got this guy on the ground, but he refuses to go up without his cow.
posted by homunculus at 6:51 PM on June 11, 2013


howmanypeopleareinspacerightnow.com
posted by ob1quixote at 9:49 PM on June 11, 2013


Howmanypeoplebotheredtoclickontheonelinkabovethefold.forfuckssakedotcom
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 12:26 AM on June 12, 2013 [1 favorite]


Brandon Blatcher: “Howmanypeoplebotheredtoclickontheonelinkabovethefold.forfuckssakedotcom”
Sorry, Brandon. I encountered it elsewhere in an unrelated context and…

*slinks away*
posted by ob1quixote at 1:32 AM on June 12, 2013


Ivan Fyodorovich: ""Can you just make some kind of an adapter ring? Seems like it'd be straightforward, but maybe someone here knows more."

Probably if you reverse the ion flux in the aft jeffrey tubes, you could do it.
"

You do that, you risk a resonance cascade and there goes your emitter.

And not to mention the havoc done on the transporter assembly.

Is it so much to ask you people do a little homework before speaking?
posted by Samizdata at 2:05 AM on June 12, 2013 [1 favorite]



A highway bridge fell down today and China's on the moon
The maintenance congress will not pay but China's on the moon
Twelve million workers unemployed but China's on the moon
But WPAs we must avoid while China's on the moon
My hundred grand tution bill dunned under China's moon
Twenty years from now I'll be payin' still while China's on the moon

If any of my kids got sick
Insurance wouldn't pay the check
Banks got bailed out, I get the stick
We get repo'd, we'll have to pack
Sleep in the car or in a tent
Cuz half my paycheck pays the rent
Almost the other half is sent
To help the federal government
Build the milit'ry establishment --
Cuz China's on the moon

A highway bridge fell down today and China's on the moon
It will not be replaced today but China's on the moon
We could bill the one percent with China on the moon
But that they surely would resent under a Chinese moon
Did the interest on the loan from China on the moon
Of all the billions that we owe put China on the moon?

I hate to seem so negative
But seems like something's got to give
I wonder if they'd let us live
Up there on China's moon

-- with apologies the memory of Gil Scott-Heron
 
posted by Herodios at 7:28 AM on June 12, 2013 [5 favorites]


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