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Bella-Angelique

China Going to Mars

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China to plan Mars probes in 5 years

By Zhao Huanxin (China Daily)

Updated: 2006-07-20 06:07

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How far Chinese scientists will advance in deep space is not immediately known. But one thing is certain: They will conduct exploration of Mars besides the ongoing lunar mission.

"In the coming five years, China will, on the basis of its moon probes, plan deep-space exploration, focusing on lunar and Martian exploration," Sun Laiyan, chief of the China National Space Administration, said yesterday.

Sun's remarks at the 36th Scientific Assembly of Committee on Space Research in Beijing appeared to be the first time a Chinese official has announced that the nation's space programme would include Martian probes.

Sun did not elaborate on that part of the mission plan, however.

Long Lehao, a senior space scientist with the Chinese Academy of Engineering, said yesterday that Chinese rockets were capable of sending a satellite to orbit any planet, including Mars.

"If the government makes up its mind to start the mission to Mars now, I think we could send an orbiter to Mars in three to five years," Long, also director of the Science and Technology Committee of the China Academy of Launch Vehicle Technology, told China Daily.

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Interesting story. China have big plans for space exploration at the moment. Their first unmanned spacecraft to orbit the moon is currently under construction. They plan to place men on the moon in the next 10 years.

I am moving this from the Science and Technology forum to the Space and Astronomy section.

Waspie_Dwarf

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How many decades will it be before we're looking at sending men to Mars?

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I may be wrong, but I think sending people to Mars is dangerous and foolish. Of course, if they can manage the fuel issue, and protect the crew from immediate harm, then I suppose the will and the means are going to find supporters.

I saw a snippet interview with a NASA scientist. He thinks they can figure out how the astronauts could make fuel for the return trip from resources on Mars.

I say volunteers must be young, and single.

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How many decades will it be before we're looking at sending men to Mars?

The current plan, for the USA at least, is to return to the moon around 2018-2020. They then want to establish a base there and then on to Mars, so maybe 2030.

I may be wrong, but I think sending people to Mars is dangerous and foolish. Of course, if they can manage the fuel issue, and protect the crew from immediate harm, then I suppose the will and the means are going to find supporters.

Dangerous, maybe. No worthwhile voyage of exploration was ever safe. Foolish, why?

I say volunteers must be young, and single.

On the contrary astronauts for a Mars trip should be those close to retirement age. The biggest problem likely to be encountered by the astronauts is the radiation the will be exposed to on such a long flight. There is a good chance of them developing cancers in later years. If an astronaut is in his thirties he can be expected to live another 40-50 years at least. If an astronaut is in his late 50s or early 60s he will have 20-30 years. This means he only has half the time to develop cancer. On top of this there is the problem of radiation affecting fertility. It makes far more sense to send astronauts that have grown up children than to send those that may want to start a family when they return.

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Posted (edited)

I appologize for not addressing the OP. I just went and read the article, and have a few observations.

Let me quote-

"Long said the challenge for China's proposed Martian mission, however, is to develop monitoring and control systems that can track and control the actions of the probe.

Sun told the scientists at the conference that China will "actively" participate in international co-operation regarding deep-space exploration.

In the next five years, China will independently develop and launch a satellite to travel beyond the solar system, he said.

Sun credited 40 years of indigenous effort in establishing the disciplines of astrophysics, space environment, space astronomy, planetary exploration, micro-gravity and space bio-technology.

Statistics indicated that during the past decade, China has earmarked at least 900 million yuan (US$112.5 million) for space science infrastructure and programmes."

1. The probe must not overshoot the planet (yes, it has happened, once- to Russia). And, in general, if it has a lander platform, that complicates the mission. Perhaps they want just to orbit, but who knows?

2. China certainly has excess "dollars" with which to participate.

3. No matter who sends a probe beyond the solar system, I think the challenge is fascinating, especially if you want data returned.

And this-

"China's Long March rocket is capable of catapulting a 2.8-ton probe into orbit around Mars, Long said."

That is more than adequate. They could easliy send an orbiter, or even an orbiter/lander.

Waspie-

I know they would never send a crew without it being reasonable. But, from some of the ideas I have briefly encountered, in the news, it seems they are making some "stretches", early in the game. Like using soil on Mars to make fuel for the return trip. That sounds iffy.

The age issue does make better sense. as you described it. I was thinking of guys with young children, and how they might not be the best choice, if the risk was high.

If they can pull it off, fine. But, speaking from today's viewpoint, robotic exploration of Mars is cheaper and safer. Must we go to Mars, if it does nothing to further our actual knowledge of that planet?

Edited by leadbelly

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NASA , The ESA , and others have a lot of accumulated know how that may be beneficial to the Chinese Programs. But there are still laws on the books here in the U.S. restricting technological information. Is China working with others , or are they trying to catch up on their own?

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The current plan, for the USA at least, is to return to the moon around 2018-2020. They then want to establish a base there and then on to Mars, so maybe 2030.

I see. Thanks. :tu:

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But, speaking from today's viewpoint, robotic exploration of Mars is cheaper and safer. Must we go to Mars, if it does nothing to further our actual knowledge of that planet?

Good point.

Though robot doesn't have sixth sense.

Less chance to produce another Mars landing hoax. And the great honour would have no impact on robot.

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NASA , The ESA , and others have a lot of accumulated know how that may be beneficial to the Chinese Programs. But there are still laws on the books here in the U.S. restricting technological information. Is China working with others , or are they trying to catch up on their own?

Has far i know, its trying to cacht uo by thenselfs, developing almost everything theyr can, or coping it from the ruskies. China offer thenselfs to help in the ISS, but the USA deny the posibility. What a waste.

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Interesting story. Seems China has a big plan for space but my question is what exactly do you think you can find on Mars. Why pick that planet of all? It's just a question that's been bugging me.

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