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Posts Tagged ‘moon

[BLOG] Some Wednesday links

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  • Bad Astronomy’s Phil Plait mourns the death of Apollo astronaut Gene Cernan and calls for a return to the Moon.
  • Beyond the Beyond’s Bruce Sterling wonders what future historiography will look like when it’s automatically assumed that British imperialism in South Asia was a bad thing.
  • blogTO highlights an impressive new condo tower planned for Mississauga.
  • D-Brief looks at how a literal heartbeat can transform the perception of an individual by race.
  • The Dragon’s Gaze links to a paper examining the potential for exoplanets orbiting red dwarfs to be habitable, finding that there seem to be no deal-breakers.
  • Language Hat shares the reflections of Russian-born author Boris Fishman who reads his novel, written in English, translated into the Russian.
  • Lawyers, Guns and Money links to a paper looking at the potential for industrial espionage to actually pay off.
  • The LRB Blog considers what will happen to Cuban migration now that Cuban migrants to the United States have no special status.
  • The NYRB Daily looks at post-revolutionary Cairo through film.
  • Savage Minds considers the grounds for potentially treating artificial intelligences as people.
  • Torontoist looks at two rival schools of medicine in 19th century Toronto.
  • The Volokh Conspiracy notes that Washington D.C.’s Freedom Plaza can be cleared of protests.
  • Window on Eurasia notes the potential financial catastrophe of Russia’s declining villages, and looks at Belarus’ national identity.

[LINK] “China Plans To Land Probes on Far Side of Moon, Mars by 2020”

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This news comes from the end of 2016, but it’s still quite important. May China continue to progress in space travel, for the benefit of us all.

China vowed Tuesday to speed up the development of its space industry as it set out its plans to become the first country to soft land a probe on the far side of the moon, around 2018, and launch its first Mars probe by 2020.

“To explore the vast cosmos, develop the space industry and build China into a space power is a dream we pursue unremittingly,” read a white paper setting out the country’s space strategy for the next five years. It says China aims to use space for peaceful purposes and to guarantee national security, and to carry out cutting edge scientific research.

The white paper released by the information office of China’s Cabinet points to the growing ambitions of China’s already rapidly advancing space program. Although the white paper doesn’t mention it, China’s eventual goal is the symbolic feat of landing an astronaut on the moon.

While Russia and the United States have more experience in manned space travel, China’s military-backed program has made steady progress in a comparatively short time.

Since China conducted its first crewed space mission in 2003, it has staged a spacewalk and landed a rover on the moon in 2013 — the first time humans had soft landed anything on the moon since the 1970s.

Written by Randy McDonald

January 11, 2017 at 5:15 pm

Posted in Politics, Science

Tagged with , , , ,

[BLOG] Some Monday links

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  • Bad Astronomy shares a photo of the Earth and Moon taken by a Mars probe.
  • Lawyers, Guns and Money responds to a baffling claim by a New York City policeman that stranger rape is more of a concern than acquaintance rape.
  • Personal Reflections’ Jim Belshaw, returned from Denmark, wonders
    about the extent to which social happiness is maximized by stability and security.
  • Progressive Download’s John Farrell argues that scientists should approach the theory of evolution in a less mechanistic light.
  • Window on Eurasia reports on the transformation of United Russia into a parallel structure of government akin to the Communist Party of the Soviet Union, and engages with the possibility of a pro-Russian Ukrainian government-in-exile.
  • Alex Harrowell of Yorkshire Ranter looks at the problems of an independent central bank, finding that failings attributed to these are actually faults of government.
  • Arnold Zwicky looks at the highly evolved fashion sense of faggots, in the context of Italy’s divides and celebrities.

[LINK] “China’s Big Year in Space Sparks Excitement and Speculation”

Scientific American‘s Leonard David describes the noteworthy ongoing improvement of China’s reach in space.

Floating back under parachute from outer space to Inner Mongolia on November 17, China’s Shenzhou-11 astronauts brought to a close the nation’s longest piloted space trek, which lasted 33 days. The mission capped off a year that saw a series of noteworthy successes in China’s blossoming space program, including the country’s sixth manned space mission, the launch of a new space lab module and the inaugural use of a new spaceport. China also opened a world-class radio telescope this year, signaling the country’s growing involvement in space science. These advances, experts say, establish China as one of the top-tier spacefaring nations on Earth and the one with perhaps more momentum than anyone—a status that excites scientists and could inspire other nations to step up their own plans.

Most of the Shenzhou-11 mission had the two crew members, Jing Haipeng and Chen Dong, safely tucked inside the live-in space lab Tiangong-2, which just launched in September. The duo’s work was dedicated in large part to honing expertise required to develop China’s own large space station. That station is due to come online by the mid 2020s—around when the International Space Station is due for retirement—a fact that Chinese space planners have emphasized.

The year’s Chinese checklist also included the first use of a new Kennedy Space Center-like spaceport, the Wenchang Satellite Launch Center on Hainan Island off China’s southern coast. The sprawling facility saw the maiden liftoffs of two rockets this year: the Long March-7 and a heavy-lifter, the Long March-5. Both boosters are essential to an expansive space agenda, with the latter dedicated to lofting the nation’s multi-modular space station and possibly, quite literally, shooting for the moon.

China is building upon earlier robotic lunar exploits, including unmanned orbiters and a lander that dispatched the nation’s Yutu moon rover in December 2013. Now their multi-pronged plan calls for the robotic spacecraft Chang’e 5 to launch in the second half of 2017 atop a Long March-5 rocket, land on the moon and collect several pounds of lunar samples, then hurl the specimens back to Earth. And on tap in 2018 is the launch of a lander headed for the far side of the moon, which would be a space first for any country. Looking beyond the lunar landscape, China is also busy at work on a Mars rover that is slated for a 2020 liftoff.

Written by Randy McDonald

December 2, 2016 at 6:45 pm

Posted in Politics, Science

Tagged with , , , ,

[BLOG] Some Sunday links

  • The Boston Globe‘s The Big Picture shares photos of Spain’s Pueblos Blancos of Andalusia.
  • blogTO reports on Toronto’s biggest pumpkin parade.
  • The Broadside Blog’s Caitlin Kelly talks about the immigrant’s dilemma on election date.
  • Dangerous Minds notes the importance of Beyoncé and Jay-Z’s concert for Hillary.
  • The Dragon’s Gaze links to a report on hot Jupiter Kelt-17b.
  • The Dragon’s Tales suggests Sputnik Planitia may dominate Pluto.
  • Far Outliers talks about Cherokee language revitalization movements.
  • Language Log looks at a Korean tradition of satirical poetry in Korea and classical Chinese.
  • Marginal Revolution links to a fascinating book about manuscripts.
  • The NYRB Daily talks about Trump as a consequence of the Iraq War.
  • Personal Reflections’ Jim Belshaw notes the recent discovery of evidence for ancient habitation in Australia.
  • The Planetary Society Blog notes the advance of plans for a lunar-orbit space station.
  • Peter Rukavina shares headlines in the Guardian of a century ago on Romania’s entry into the First World War.
  • Torontoist annotates the SmartTrack report.
  • Towleroad shares Robyn’s new track, “Trust Me.”
  • Understanding Society celebrates its 9th anniversary.
  • Window on Eurasia reports on Russia’s escalating HIV/AIDS epidemic.

[BLOG] Some Wednesday links

  • Bad Astronomy notes the discovery of water vapour clouds in the atmosphere of nearby brown dwarf WISE 0855.
  • blogTO notes the imminent arrival of winter weather.
  • Centauri Dreams reports on a new theory of the Moon’s origins suggesting the impact collision which create it was much more violent than we thought.
  • The Dragon’s Gaze notes how snowlines migrate across a system in the course of a star’s life.
  • The LRB Blog reports on the mind-numbing legal complexities of Brexit.
  • The Map Room Blog reports on a new book of maps of New York City.
  • The NYRB Daily explores the making of a documentary in 1970 on Thomas Bernhard.
  • Seriously Science notes that kittens recognize the sounds of their mother.
  • Towleroad reports on a South African imam promoting gay rights at a Cape Town mosque.
  • Window on Eurasia argues Putin’s annexation of Crimea made reform in Ukraine essential, and reports on budget cuts and their threat in the North Caucasus.

[LINK] “China wants the Moon. But first, it has to spend a month in space”

Emma Grey Ellis’ Wired article takes a look at how China’s space program is progressing.

On Monday, at a launch center in the middle of the Gobi desert, two taikonauts boarded a spacecraft and rocketed into space. Yesterday their ship, Shenzou-11, docked with China’s experimental space lab, Tiangong-2. For the next 30 days—China’s longest crewed space mission—they will conduct experiments, test equipment, practice repairs, try to grow plants, and keep track of how the space environment affects their bodies. Sound familiar, space fans?

It should. Tiangong-2 is like a baby International Space Station. Sure, it doesn’t have the ISS’s scale, technological sophistication, or multi-national backing. But it’s the technical testing ground for the grown up space station China plans to launch in the next couple of years. Which will more permanent, and about the size of Mir, the Soviet Union’s space station in the 80s and 90s. But mostly, Tiangong-2 an important part of China’s long term plan to build a Moon base. And from there, it’ll be hard to deny China a seat at the space superpower table.

Like everything China does, people consistently underestimate the nation’s space program. Common snubs include: It’s miles behind the curve; their gear is all Russian knockoffs; their launch schedules are hopelessly slapdash. Yeah, those have all been true at one point, but not an honest assessment of the program as it currently stand.

China did not launch its first satellite until the 1970s, and didn’t really invest heavily in their space program until the early ’90s (the Cultural Revolution was a bigger priority) but they’ve been gaining ground on the US and Europe ever since. Early on, the nation’s program relied on Russia, both for components and training for their would-be taikonauts.

And the Shenzhou spacecraft do resemble Soviet (now Russian) Soyuz. But don’t hate: “The Shenzhou is the same idea, but not a copy,” says Jonathan McDowel, an astrophysicist at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics. “In its present form, it’s very much a Chinese vehicle.” The Chinese spacecraft is bigger, more powerful, and its forward habitation module has solar panels that can provide power for a separate mission—even after the astronauts climb aboard Tiangong-2.

Written by Randy McDonald

October 19, 2016 at 9:45 pm

Posted in Politics, Science

Tagged with , , , ,