Griffin: China will beat US back to moon

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docm

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Space Politics....<br /><br /><blockquote><font class="small">In reply to:</font><hr /><p><b>Griffin: China will beat US to the Moon</b><br /><br />September 17, 2007 at 5:16 pm · Filed under NASA<br /><br />Earlier today NASA administrator Mike Griffin gave a luncheon speech in Washington to talk about the “space economyâ€, a concept part of the agency’s new strategic communications plan. His most noteworthy comment, though, came near the end of the Q&A session after his talk, when he was asked about the potential for cooperation and competition with other emerging space powers, including (but not limited to) China:<br /><br /><blockquote><font class="small">In reply to:</font><hr /><p><font color="yellow">I personally believe that China will be back on the Moon before we are. I think when that happens, Americans will not like it, but they will just have to not like it. I think we will see, as we have seen with China’s introductory manned space flights so far, we will see again that nations look up to other nations that appear to be at the top of the technical pyramid, and they want to do deals with those nations. It’s one of the things that made us the world’s greatest economic power. So I think we’ll be reinstructed in that lesson in the coming years and I hope that Americans will take that instruction positively and react to it by investing in those things that are the leading edge of what’s possible.</font>p><hr /></p></blockquote><br /><br />It wasn’t explicitly clear from his comments whether he was referring to robotic or human exploration of the Moon, but most people in the room appeared to interpret it as referring to human lunar missions.<p><hr /></p></p></blockquote> <div class="Discussion_UserSignature"> </div>
 
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askold

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Oh, god - I hope Americans don't fall for this nonsense twice.<br /><br />In the 60's it was a phony race with the Russians - that just had to be won or something, something bad would happen. Now, if we don't beat the Chinese then .... other countries won't look up to us, or do "deals" with us, or something ...<br /><br />Translation: send NASA buckets of money.
 
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holmec

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It would seem that China has to get to the moon the first time to be able to "go back". But I guess that's a slip up by Griffin <div class="Discussion_UserSignature"> <p> </p><p><font color="#0000ff"><em>"SCE to AUX" - John Aaron, curiosity pays off</em></font></p> </div>
 
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holmec

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<blockquote><font class="small">In reply to:</font><hr /><p>In the 60's it was a phony race with the Russians - that just had to be won or something, something bad would happen. Now, if we don't beat the Chinese then .... other countries won't look up to us, or do "deals" with us, or something ... <p><hr /></p></p></blockquote><br /><br />Something like .... the COLD WAR and nuclear annihilation and mutual assured destruction? Don't you remember these things?<br /><br />And the race was not phony. Russians had landers as well. <div class="Discussion_UserSignature"> <p> </p><p><font color="#0000ff"><em>"SCE to AUX" - John Aaron, curiosity pays off</em></font></p> </div>
 
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askold

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As a matter of fact I do remember. The Russians were, in fact, less than they claimed or appeared to be. US leaders we using the Russians as a bogey man to scare Americans into doing what they wanted. That's what got us into Viet Nam, Afganistan (the first time), El Salvador, etc. The list goes on.<br /><br />But, never mind that - back to the moon. If there is some worthwhile/scientific reason for us to go to the moon, then let's go. That should be enough reason. When I hear Griffin turning this into a contest - it makes me think there's no legitimate reason to go to the moon.
 
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no_way

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Griffins words in english: give us more budget or else <insert bogeyman du jour here><br /><br />If he indeed thinks that with chinese glacial pace, they will be back on the moon before NASA, NASA is irrelevant in the long run anyway.<br />And i suspect americans wont be very worried, because even though NASA may not be on the moon before chinese, americans will be.
 
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docm

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<inset half-joke: NASA lands on the moon & registers at the Luna Bigelow Arms> <div class="Discussion_UserSignature"> </div>
 
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cbased

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I (as a space technology enthusiast) actually wouldn't mind to see a bit of a competition again - it helps the progress. But I doubt that chinese (manned flight) will be there first. Arguably, they are roughly 20 years behind (compared to US and Russia) and some of their achievements are based on russian technology. Now I've heard that Russia is not willing to share technology that freely anymore. So it is going to be quite a hard road for chinese to the Moon.<br />
 
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no_way

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<blockquote><font class="small">In reply to:</font><hr /><p>Now I've heard that Russia is not willing to share technology that freely anymore<p><hr /></p></p></blockquote><br />Where'd you hear that ? Every bit of tech updates that come to Flankers and some Fulcrums is still gladly sold and licenced to China, sometimes even before they are fitted on Russian own forces.
 
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holmec

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<blockquote><font class="small">In reply to:</font><hr /><p>If there is some worthwhile/scientific reason for us to go to the moon, then let's go. That should be enough reason. When I hear Griffin turning this into a contest - it makes me think there's no legitimate reason to go to the moon.<p><hr /></p></p></blockquote><br /><br />Absolutely. I believe there is scientific evidence to go to the moon. But about your fears that its all about a contest. I think Griffin was saying this 1. as a matter of fact 2. Possibly to shame Congress.<br /><br />There is somekind of race going on, but not like it was. We don't see one country controling the moon like it was told us before (hence the "red moon" thing). It seems to me a race to get to the moon to look for possibilities:<br /><br />1. water on the moon<br />2. helium 3 on the moon<br />3. the fortitude to get to the moon<br /><br />As far as the moon is concern, US is far ahead of any other country. Shoot, were letting private industry have a shot at it. <div class="Discussion_UserSignature"> <p> </p><p><font color="#0000ff"><em>"SCE to AUX" - John Aaron, curiosity pays off</em></font></p> </div>
 
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holmec

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I also heard that. That Russia sold plans of Soyuz launch system and command module to China but was unwilling to sell or share anything beyond that as far as space is concern.<br /><br />Now I have to look up the article....... <br /><br />MSNBC article<br />This one state Russia sold Soyuz components and "the RD-120 rocket engine for a larger rocket the Chinese plan"<br /><br />Seems like that rocket is yet to be launched, so that might be the "moon rocket".<br /><br />SDC article: Russia-China Deal Makes NASA Uneasy <br /><br />At the end of this one there's some interesting comments:<br /><blockquote><font class="small">In reply to:</font><hr /><p>"I don't see the U.S. twiddling its thumbs while Taikonauts are hopping around the moon's surface," he said. "This won't happen for awhile yet, (but) the Chinese are interested in the moon."<br /><br />Fisher said it would be a surprise for the Chinese to reach the moon, and doubted anything less than a permanent Chinese moon base would cause concern to the rest of the world.<br /><br />"We were there first, so who cares?" he said. "If China were to endeavor to put something more permanent on the moon, that would be very serious."<p><hr /></p></p></blockquote><br /><br />Well, alas, I'm not finding that comment about Russia not helping china any more in manned space. <div class="Discussion_UserSignature"> <p> </p><p><font color="#0000ff"><em>"SCE to AUX" - John Aaron, curiosity pays off</em></font></p> </div>
 
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j05h

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Holmec, of your 3 points, only 1.5 are applicable to NASA. Mostly the fortitude/organization of getting there with a little water/O extraction. They aren't going to mine the moon any more than the Chinese military. All of that is the province of various industry.<br /><br /><i>> As far as the moon is concern, US is far ahead of any other country. Shoot, were letting private industry have a shot at it.</i><br /><br />There is no "letting". There are no laws preventing a private company from going to the moon now, or ever. 95% of the problem is the prohibitive cost of getting there. This is part of why billionaire-funded space companies are making such strides - they can afford it. Generally space is governed by fairly consensual regulation (with the exception of ITAR) - witness spectrum allocation and AST's suborbital regs. Also, a "Moore's Law" of space is developing - with the rapid advance in computing and robotics, we are multiplying what can be done upstairs.<br /><br />You are right that no one country (or company) is going to claim the Moon. It is to close to Earth for that to be accetable. I've been discussing this WRT Mars on marsroverblog.com, Field thinks that a corporate Consortia should go and claim the whole Red Planet, then sell stakes. What it points to is that the real development in space is largely private and industrial, leading to building new cities everywhere and the transportation networks between them. In open space and unclaimed parts of worlds, something like common Sea Law should rule - no man's land, rescue and salvage rights.<br /><br />I predict that a university team competing for the new X Prize will beat all other robot landers back to the moon. Further, a multinational private effort will beat all State efforts back to boots on the moon, probably before 2016. The US as a whole is definitely ahead in getting back.<br /><br />Josh <div class="Discussion_UserSignature"> <div align="center"><em>We need a first generation of pioneers.</em><br /></div> </div>
 
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frodo1008

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While we have debated each other here in the past, for once, to some extent I actually agree with you. <br /><br />Oh, not about your "buckets of money" comment, that was your usual approach that I do oppose. As the part of the federal budget that goes to NASA is FAR from being "buckets of money". NASA's part of the current federal budget was calculated on another thread by someone to be about 0.56% of the total federal budget. Which is far less than even the over all total pure fraud that is perpetuated upon the tax payers in the total federal budget. This certainly does not compare very favorably with the 2% average of the 1960's, (with a peak of 4% in 1965). I would say that a reasonable budget for NASA would be about 1% (Oh, I admit that I would like to see it be more, but that is a reasonable and practical amount at this time in itself). Even that amount (some $30 billion) could be gained from where NASA's budget is now by giving NASA a constant 10% raise every year. It would even do NASA itself no good to just dump some $13 billion on NASA all at once! This would give NASA enough to have both a robust program in manned space AND a robust program of robotic space science (as well as all the other worthwhile things that NASA does)!<br /><br />Where I have come to somewhat agree with you is that I do not feel that NASA should be taking manned flights beyond the Earth/moon system before at least 2050. The moon and not Mars should be the target (and quite frankly is all the target that politics is going to allow us anyway) for near term human exploration.<br /><br />I would totally agree that our little relatively inexpensive robotic friends are more than enough to explore the outer reaches of the solar system from Mars on out in the near term. It would not only be expensive to send human beings out so very far for the near term it would be downright unsafe and dangerous to do do until our robots have done far more exploration.<br /><br />Not only should the moon
 
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radarredux

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> <i><font color="yellow">I think Griffin was saying this 1. as a matter of fact 2. Possibly to shame Congress.</font>/i><br /><br />I agree. About a year ago I watched videos of several Congressional hearings where virtually all the Congress-people state how important it is that we maintain our leadership in space, that they seriously fear China beating us back to the Moon, etc. Yet Congress turned around and actually cut the budget for the Constellation program!<br /><br />Remember, this is Congress, who, when the French wouldn't go along with the US claims of Iraqi WMD and ties to 9-11 (the US was wrong on both counts), got their panties in a bunch and renamed "french fries" to "freedom fries".<br /><br />Don't underestimate the ego, overestimate the intelligence, or overestimate the maturity of Congress! If playing these games are what is needed to protect the budget, so be it.</i>
 
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holmec

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I was just giving a list of reasons/possible reasons and that's what came to mind.<br /><br />The helium 3 research could potentially happen:<br />SDC article:Researchers and space enthusiasts see helium-3 as the perfect fuel <br /><br />That is one experiment among many.<br /><br />And its not just the US that is interested in this. <div class="Discussion_UserSignature"> <p> </p><p><font color="#0000ff"><em>"SCE to AUX" - John Aaron, curiosity pays off</em></font></p> </div>
 
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j05h

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Helium 3 is interesting and full of potential, but could easily be overtaken by Polywell reactors. He3, like LOX, is probably best left to commercial entities. Can NASA help get industry get to the Moon? Sure, but it's not in their mandate to actually mine and export stuff. <br /><br />What is the Chinese perspective? Will their military space program lead to Lunar mining? How will that work? <br /><br />NASA and the administration have been pretty clear with what they want to build and do on the Moon. <div class="Discussion_UserSignature"> <div align="center"><em>We need a first generation of pioneers.</em><br /></div> </div>
 
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rocketwatcher2001

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What makes the moon so valuable is the fact that it's close enough to Earth to get to rather easily, it has all of the raw elements of Earth, and is very easy to launch spacecraft from. Sometime in the future, most Earth satellites will be made from the moon, and so will most of the spacecraft that will exploit the solar system. I'd like to get started on this sooner, rather than later. <div class="Discussion_UserSignature"> </div>
 
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frodo1008

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We agree! NASA will always probably remain the trail leader in the exploration of space, but pure for profit industry is going to become the real mover in humanity in general getting into space in a big way (following NASA's lead)!<br /><br />This will start with the current efforts of the likes of Burt Rutan and tspace (along with Virgin Galactic), Elon Musk and spacex, and Bigelow with his inflatable modules, but there will be truly many such efforts (some successful and some not so successful, but all eventually moving forward).<br /><br />And indeed the next step beyond will be the moon and the space between the Earth and the moon (with NEO's thrown in for variety).<br /><br />NASA will first go back to the moon with a far larger exploration effort than Apollo was. And then build permanent bases on that important nearby body. These will then become the base for private industry to open up mining on the moon. Along with such private efforts to use those very same materials to build larger structures in space.<br /><br />This will take some time, but I have confidence in human greed and ambition that it will be done within the next 30 years or so. <br /><br />In the meantime we allow our relatively inexpensive robots to do our exploring of the outer solar system. Then far better prepared and therefore much safer, humanity will indeed move outwards to Mars and beyond.<br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br />
 
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no_way

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<blockquote><font class="small">In reply to:</font><hr /><p>it has all of the raw elements of Earth<p><hr /></p></p></blockquote><br />Dont overstate your case. Moon is notably scarce on lots of volatiles, like nitrogen. I dont think there is lots of carbon to go around either.<br /><br />Moon is a good platform for dozens of reasons but it has its limits.
 
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rocketscientist327

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So many good points here, but in a nutshell, this is why I fear NASA is doomed.<br /><br />First and foremost, Congress. They do not care about space exploration. They care about “ear marks†or special pork projects for their home districts and states. Dr. Griffin may be off with the Chinese beating us to the moon, however, his logic is correct in that if NASA keeps getting screwed we will eventually fall.<br /><br />I do not have the time to do all the research myself (double masters program atm) but I wonder how many pointless ear marks are in the NASA budget?<br /><br />Secondly, this is why I put more hope and faith into people like Elon Musk. If we are really going to take space exploration to the next level we need private companies to do it. The fact that we have two multi-billionaires running companies is a good start.<br /><br />When we can finally make a serious profit on space exploration / tourism we will see some magnificent things.<br /><br />In the meantime, I will support NASA and pray to God that they get the funding they need and deserve. NASA is the best government program, ever.<br /><br />Respectfully,<br />Rocket Scientist 327<br />
 
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rocketwatcher2001

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no-way<br /><font color="yellow">Dont overstate your case. Moon is notably scarce on lots of volatiles, like nitrogen. I dont think there is lots of carbon to go around either.</font><br /><br />I hadn't considered that. Thanks. This is why I love this site. <img src="/images/icons/smile.gif" /> <div class="Discussion_UserSignature"> </div>
 
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j05h

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The Moon's lack of volatiles, especially water, is why I keep arguing Mars' advantages. Nitrogen and other elements in the atmosphere, water and CO2 ices are all available on Mars. They can create a fortuitous balance. I still don't see computer chips or rocket engines being built on the Moon any time soon.<br /><br />Josh <div class="Discussion_UserSignature"> <div align="center"><em>We need a first generation of pioneers.</em><br /></div> </div>
 
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askold

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"the Moon is really an obvious choice here. People have been living for months at a time on various space stations where every single resource has to be tugged from Earth, living on the Moon can't really be any harder than that. "<br /><br />There's not much Tang on the moon.<br /><br />Before a moon colony could be even marginally self-sufficent, everything would have to be hauled from the Earth to the colony - much harder than hauling that stuff to LOE. <br /><br />And hauling the stuff to make the colony self-sufficient would have to come from Earth. It will take NASA 12 years to build ISS - a few hundred miles up. Hauling a factory to the moon will take a bit longer.
 
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scottb50

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It will take NASA 12 years to build ISS - a few hundred miles up. Hauling a factory to the moon will take a bit longer....<br /><br />That's why it is ridiculous to think you can do that from the beginning. The first foothold will have to be established before it can be expanded, then a second phase is built on it. I would think the second phase would be deep Space telescopes and the third tourists, or the other way around. Then you can start expanding into industrial applications and beyond, but that would be a long ways down the road.<br /><br />The same would hold with Mars, first priority would be establishing a stable base then expanding from there. To start out expecting to exploit native materials from the beginning is unreasonable. <br /><br /> <div class="Discussion_UserSignature"> </div>
 
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docm

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Just because it took 12+ years for NASA to build ISS doesn't mean that's how long it would take motivated commercial interests to build a facility in orbit, on the moon or most anywhere else. <br /><br />If nothing else my 25 years in the public sector has taught me that <img src="/images/icons/tongue.gif" /> <div class="Discussion_UserSignature"> </div>
 
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