Author Options:

Renewed Interest In Space, Lunar Explorations Answered

Japan's space agency today launched its much-delayed lunar probe in the most ambitious mission to the moon since the US Apollo space flights.

The Selenological and Engineering Explorer — or Selene — probe was launched on board an H-2A rocket from Tanegashima, the remote island location of the agency's space centre.


Japan's mission comes at a time of renewed interest in the moon. China plans to send a probe, the Chang'e 1 to the moon, possibly this month.

The Chang'e 1 orbiter will use stereo cameras and x-ray spectrometers to map three-dimensional images of the lunar surface and study its dust.

China's official Xinhua news agency has reported that a manned probe could be launched within 15 years. Japan is also considering a manned mission by 2025.

Meanwhile, Google has launched a $20m (£9.9m) competition to send a robotic mission to the moon. To claim the prize, a team of researchers will need to send a rover to the moon, make it roam for a minimum of 500 metres and send video, images and data back to Earth, all before December 31 2012.

Full article here

Related Articles:

UK astronaut on moon

India's unmanned probe

Plan for spaceport in Singapore

Everybody else want to go to space too..


To get back on topic, the current state of manned space exploration should be seen as an embarrassment to both the US and humanity in general.

NASA have been in possession of a workable, affordable, safe plan for an extended presence on Mars.

If NASA had adopted the plan when presented, human beings could have been celebrating the Millennium on Mars, for less than the original planned cost of the ISS.

The new scheme of going to Mars via the Moon is an embarrassment of poor planning - the claim is that Mars-targeted technologies can be tested on the Moon first is wrong, either through spin or ignorance. Lunar landers have to cope with hard vacuum and temperature variances of up to 400 degrees on a monthly cycle. The daylight hours are radiologically not fun. They have to make soft landings purely by retro-thrust due to the lack of any significant atmosphere.

Martian landers have to deal with lower temperature variances, but on a more rapid cycle, and have to deal with a chemically-harsh environment. There is an atmosphere, so landings can be softened by parachutes or aerodrag. If thrusted landings are used, the engines would have to be radically-redesigned compared to those intended for the Moon due to the presence of an atmosphere (atmospheric pressure also alters the burn-characteristics of rocket motors). Winds, whilst not strong by Terran standards, are enough to lift enough dust to block access to solar energy for days at a time.

Lunar material resources are minimal in the extreme - with enough energy, oxygen can be extracted from some rocks, plus aluminium, but little else. The Martian regolith and atmosphere, though, can be chemically harvested to produce oxygen, water and fuel for further exploration or return flights.

You still have the basic of "we want to go to Mars". Above what may /may not be a practical means to an end, reasonable or affordable, if someone wants to do it: they will, and just for the sake of doing it. Where is the value in putting men or women off the planet (in a physical and not drug-induced sense)? L

In the long-term, it's survival of the species.

Destruction of the home planet is inevitable, but unpredictable - there are still an unknown number of large, Earth-crossing bodies out there. Eventually, one will hit. Or maybe it will be Yellowstone that takes us out. Or a solar flare.

Putting a significant population elsewhere will increase the likelihood of the long-term survival of humanity.

Having the potential of a whole new home will also focus the planet as a whole. Some readers will remember the energy around the early Moon-landings, or at least the excitement of the first Shuttle launches. Combine that with the entrepreneurial spirit of the European expansion into Africa, Latin America and especially North America, and you have an energy, a gestalt, that could drive the human race onto astounding things, both at home and out there.

I confidently expect another three or four decades on this Earth - I see no reason why that period cannot see a self-sufficient colony on Mars, in the Asteroids, and even generation-ships taking us further out - the ultimate wagon train.

It ain't practical.
We've evolved to live here, you ain't going to get a significant population elsewhere, wild-west syle, without some natural natural resources (like plants, animals, rain, air etc.)


. No doubt. If we don't become extinct first, we will have to spread somewhere at some time, but I just don't think now is the time for manned flight to Mars.
. It is orders of magnitude more difficult to get people to Mars (or anywhere else, even on Earth, for that matter) than 'bots ... at least if you want the people to be alive when they get there.
. Getting the people back - alive - is even more difficult. I doubt if we will be able to send enough people and resources (mass) for a self-sustaining colony. It's gonna be hard enough to lift all the stuff needed for a primitive lunar colony.
. From a PR standpoint, it has to be done safely. I don't know why, but most people don't seem to understand that when one is pioneering, one stands the chance of getting killed - it's part of living on the bleeding-edge. Pioneers (astronauts, test pilots, Arctic explorers, et al) understand this and, for many, it's part of "The Thrill," and they gladly accept the risk. Yes, I feel bad that pioneers get killed, but I'd be willing to bet that every one of them would rather have died the way they did, instead of sitting at home pounding on a keyboard. Our society expects everything to be safe - you've seen the reaction to space-related deaths. However, deaths on Mars, probably wouldn't have the impact that a shuttle burning up on TV had.
. From a more local POV, if "proving" that we (the US or "Free World," take your pick) are "superior" to <pick an enemy> is the objective, it might be worthwhile, but I don't think it's gonna impress most of our enemies (they already know they're out-gunned and don't care).
. Yes, I feel sure the we will eventually end up on Mars, but I think it's jumping the gun to not get established on the Moon first. I'm all for sending 'bots.

I strongly recommend you get hold of a copy of The case for mars" by Robert Zubrin. Your library may have a copy.

. Unless he addresses the social issues, I can't see him affecting my opinion very much. It wasn't too hard to convince ppl to spend the money (it will take a LOT to get ppl to Mars) on space exploration when it would help us defeat the Commies, but things have changed. Even back then, ppl got very upset when astronauts died.

. I don't see any reason for manned flights to Mars until we have a few stable colonies on the Moon. Kinda puttin' the cart before the horse, in my book.

True very true, but don't you think we could use the moon as a staging point?

Man O man, I cant wait till I get out of MIT...

With a degree in aerospace engineering of course...

I have one in Aerospace Maintenance Technology, I should have fisnhed my Space one while I was in the Air Force (kicking myself. Build something great! and Good luck with all you do.

That's good info to have. Thank you for posting it. So is there another space race? Perhaps between China and the rest of the world? Also on a separate note; this may result in some harsh criticism but I am not convinced we really made it to the moon. I served in US Space Command and after everything I have experinced I am just not sure that it happened, but I hope it did.

Unfortunately, because there's so much computer generated "evidence" that we didn't go, if you're convinced it didn't happen, there's little we can do to convince you otherwise. Had there been something there other than rocks that differ little from earth rocks we might have better evidence. Perhaps when Japan or China get there photos, the flag we left there will be among them.

That is exatly my point. there is very little evidence other than rocks. Sometimes I believe it and sometimes I don't. This is the point at which I am not convinced I figure that if I have doubts then that means I am not fully convinced. I would love to see a pic take from the "Hubble" of the moon where the flag is. That might put me over the top as well. You make very good and intelligent points.

I would love to see a pic take from the "Hubble" of the moon where the flag is.

Despite public perception, Hubble is not capable of spotting anything so small as the Eagle lander (never mid the flag!) on the Moon. It's a matter of angular size, rather than sensitivity. Hubble takes very nice pictures of very, very big things.

... vacuum chamber...

As far as I know, there has never existed a vacuum chamber large enough to stage that experiment with several human beings, a space craft and video cameras present inside the chamber.

... a few rocks ...

Which have been conclusively shown to be non-terrestrial in nature.

I have had the privilege to hold and microscopically-examine samples of Moon rock loaned to our local school network. Very pretty, and like nothing else I have ever seen.

...van Allen belt...

Any blast large enough to completely and permanently irradiate the entire atmosphere would have been large enough to remove the atmosphere.

... most able to spot a fake...

The Soviets landed Lunar rovers before the US walked there. They would have had a vested interest in highlighting even the remotest possibility that the US landings were fake in order to maintain or improve their own position in the space race / cold war.

Well the Hubble has been upgraded quite frequently (as you probably already know) and actually it is a Keyhole series spy satellite and is used only about 10% for space exploration. The other 90% is spying. I think there might be a chance it could spot these items on the moon, if they are not camo'd by moon dust. Since they are claim they can see how many light years away with it, What is the resolution on that thing anyway? There are chambers that would have enough vacuum that could come close enough. They are used on pilots when training for loss of cabin pressure, at altitude. It tests their mental abilities at low oxygen levels. Well we have Moon rocks and Martian rocks here on earth that we didn't go get ourselves. They were ejected from those bodies but they are here on earth. Yes they did have rovers there first, but most of the Soviets records are still sealed. I think they would have a vested interest in it. I don't bellieve the Van Allen belt theory either. Check out this link it has good info on both sides look at the second section "MOTIVE" at see "the US had several motives existing for the U.S government to fake the moon landings" I want to beieve that they went I am about 95% sure they did, but there are questions that need to be answered before I am convinced. I say we just go to Mars and use thMoon as a staging point.

Hubble tlescope? A Keyhole spy sattelite? You believe to much of what you read online man. The Hubble can't focus on a point (someplace on earth) that close.

Dude, I was in U.S. Sspace Command where do you think I got that information. I worked with spy satellites. See my post to Kiteman. The one below this one.

OK f it's a spy sat, how does it manage to focus on something so close up? I mean if we were spying on the Goa'uld or Wraith, it would make sense... Unfortunetly we don't have a Stagate or SG team so that's not likely.

It is of course very complicated and in which I don't want to go in to detail because my replies are long enough as it is. You can go to the links I provided in one of the many replies to other s on this page. You may have to scroll down a ways. Did you know the Hubble's computer processor is a 486? Top of the line at the time. Pretty cool huh? Did the new season of Stargate Atlantis come on yet or did i miss it? How about BSG? I am a SciFi freak. I love SCI FI Friday.

Hubble is a spysat? There's a new one. I'd be willing to put real money on the guy who came up with that one failing science at school.

The special ability of hubble is not the ability to see details - there are larger telescopes on the surface of the planet - but the ability to see things at all - it's sensors are incredibly sensitive, and if the looked at anything so bright and so close as a city's lights, the sensors would burn out completely.

The recent upgrades have been to other detectors onboard (microwave, Xray etc) - the main upgrade was to the mirror, after some idiot forgot to allow for it unbending when it was lifted into freefall.

Oh, and the pilot-training chambers cannot maintain "hard" vacuum (there's no point, since aircraft pilots never encounter it), as is required for the guinea/feather experiment, and they are barely large enough to stand up in, never mind stage a long-lens shot complete with scenery and full-scale props.

It sounds like we may have to agree to disagree.

And if you bet real money you would lose.The Hubble is a Keyhole Sat. a KH-11 if I remember right and it is only used 10% for space exploration. This is a big fight between NASA and the military. You guess what the other 90% is used for.

space.com see par. 6

The larger telescopes on the ground are not as accurate with details as the Hubble is because of the atmospheric attenuation, that is why the put in orbit, it gives better resolution.
The best telescopes on the planet are in Hawaii, but most of those are used for other military purposes like identifying other countries satellites.

A good link

No the chamber doesn’t create a hard vacuum, but it is large enough for a few people to be in. You could perfrom the test feather test in it with some accuracy. I have some friends who went through it. It is larger than you would think.

YYYYAAAAAAAAAAAAARRRRRRGGGGGGGGHHHHHH!!!!!???????? YOUV'E HANDLED A PIECE OF THE MOON?!? YOU JUST ADVANCED FROM COOL TO TOTALLY AWESOME! What was it like? How heavy was it? Did it seem unearthly or was it just a rock? Sorry about all the questions, but I've only ever handled meteorites.

. When it comes to conspiracy theories, I have a theory of my own.
. The ability to keep a secret is an inverse log function - one person has a 100% chance of keeping a secret, two ppl have a 10% chance, four 1%, &c.
. Ie, if the moon landing was fake, if Cubans killed JFK, if Masons ruled the World, &c, &c, ad nauseum, somebody would have spilled the beans by now.

This is interesting, because the fact that there are these "theories" out there, apparently kept alive by many "insiders", it is apparent to me that they serve an even darker secret, to divert our attention, right ? *lol*

. So, you think I'm spreading my lies to keep people from figuring out that I have control over the world's banks? Do you hear that knock at the door? Don't worry, they have orders not to harm your wife or children. heehee

Hah ! Tis the wrong door (since the only child I have IS my wife *snicker*).

One moment as I wrap myself in the cloak of invisibility (huh? what's that sound I hear? A coo-coo clock? *lol*

I really think your right, but I do have doubts and I really hope I am wrong. Actually it was our own gov that killed Kennedy, that is the only reason they haven't released all of the records. I think they will wait until everyone from that era is dead before they do, there really is no other reason not to tell the country.

How could you possibly believe we didn't land on the moon? Whereis tangabile evidence we didn't?

Hmmm… I think the question really is "Where is tangible evidence we did?” What video and rocks? I would really be surprised if any of the astronauts didn’t end up having some type of caner later in their lives (I have never researched it). . Did their hair fall out? The Van Allen belts are an extremely intense radioactive phenomenon. Then they had to also be exposed to cosmic radiation, , solar flares, that’s just the radiation. How about micro meters etc.? The math alone is phenomenal just to build a rocket powerful enough to break orbit. Minimum speed needed to maintain orbit is 27,500 mph. These men who did go into space and also the ones who tested the rockets were extremely brave and we have to give them credit for their hard work. You have to remember the time though. This is an area stewing with politics not to mention an arms race. Who is going to be on top of the world? What better way to win than convince someone with false factual evidence. Same thing just happened when we invaded Iraq. Some people still think Osama and Saddam had links to each other and that we actually did find WMD’s in Iraq. This time in our existence was all about us having the most clout in the world, having the best schools and the best Scientist. Who had the most clout with rockets before us and where did we get/steal rocket our technology? We got it from the Germans who were decades ahead of the rest of the world in almost all aspects of science. Just ask your avitar Albet E. he was german/jewish. By the way a very samrt man also, good choice of avitar. Anyway to cut it short these are the reasons I am not convinced. I have nothing against people who are convinced, great for them, I would just like more evidence.

Have you asked yourself why the Soviets didn't say these things at the time? Why admit defeat (having beaten the US to pretty much every other space achievement) and not accuse them of making it up? Did the NASA's main rivals, being the most able persons to spot a fake, and having a strong interest in doing so, miss these things that cause you (not being a space expert) to doubt these events? L

My Firefox browser keeps having issues when I reply. I had laid a few various reasons, but since I have to use IE and have to retype everything I am keeping it short. The Russians still have a lot of their files from that time secret. They did have plans to go, we only beat them by a few days. "being the most able persons to spot a fake, and having a strong interest in doing so, miss these things that cause you (not being a space expert) to doubt these events?" What makes you think they were the most able to spot a fake? I have some experience in Space Operations I don't know why you think I don't. I served in U.S. Space Command and attended what we call "Space School" at Vandenberg AFB in CA. I have studies in launch vehicle design, payload, and orbital mechanics. It was at this time my doubts started.

You've just said that you beat them (Soviets), which is directly contradictory to not being convinced that you did.

Apart from NASA, who was best placed to spot a space-fake?


LOL. I knew you would try that. I said I was not fully convinced, and "I" didn't beat them. You are twisting words. When I say the US (we) beat them it is a figure of speech. We sold the world the idea that we beat them (whether we did or not). Are so convinced that it happened? Tell me why, because someone told you it happened? I do like the feather and coin test, but that could have been. faked as well (vaccume chamber). When working in Space Command I worked with Canadians. They said they are absolutely convinced that the US created the second Van Allen belt by detonating a nuclear weapon in space, this is taught in their schools (per them). So does it make it true? "Apart from NASA, who was best placed to spot a space-fake?" Why don't you tell me and why you think it?

The Canadian story is amusing, surely that's just a US joke against Canadians? As I said previously, as the only other people making a serious effort to reach the moon, Soviet space-scientists were the best placed to spot any fakery by NASA, at the time. L

The Canadian story is true these guys seriously believed that. You would think they would be able to spot it. However we did not have the same type of monitoring systems thebn as we do now. The US was just starting out using the Corona project. Really how would we know what to spot until other technologies were create to spot stuff. This is kind of getting long winded. Like I said I am back and forth on the idea. I am excited to see what the other countries will accomplish.

Is that another way of saying "The Man is keeping us down"? lol

Those dang Japanese. Just as Rome gave Britain the Empire bug, we must have given them the space bug... All right, humor aside, it's about time someone started heading for the moon/mars/other places. We (US) really needs to get on with it, we should have colonised Mars already.

I fully agree with you. We need to invent an instructable time machine and go back, stop the current war, and spend all the money we have spent on this war on outer and inner space exploration.

A time machine would be a super developed warp drive, so we would have to already have deep space technology, so to late LOL.

Speaking of warp drives, I hear rumor there is going to be a new Star Trek. Has anyone heard anything like this?

Now that is an Instructable that needs posting!