We Just Lost the Moon

We Just Lost the Moon

We Just Lost the Moon

If kids ruled the world, “Capture the flag” would decide all the boundaries. They would be ever shifting, and the battles would wage on. We are adults, and forget that a planted flag isn’t a permanent marker. Our flag on the surface of the moon will face another across the void of space. China has landed on the far side of the moon.

The best we can hope for in this situation is that they don’t find some resting Autobot and steal its technology to completely overtake the universe.

“China is anxious to get into the record books with its space achievements, it is highly likely that with the success of Chang’e — and the concurrent success of the human spaceflight Shenzhou program — the two programs will eventually be combined toward a Chinese human spaceflight program to the Moon. Odds of the next voice transmission from the Moon being in Mandarin are high.”
Joan Johnson-Freese, PhD  Professor US Naval War College and expert on China’s space program.

I Don’t Speak Mandarin

I don’t know about your language skills, but my Mandarin is a bit rusty. Much like our defunct space program. Let’s add that to the #ThanksObama list. Maybe his Mandarin is good enough to understand the next broadcast from humans standing on another planet. Maybe he doesn’t care about the future because he’s too busy fighting battles best left in the past. Regardless, his administration effectively killed our  “Constellation” program to the Moon by 2020.
President Barack Obama’s 2011 budget request has effectively shut down NASAs five-year effort to return astronauts to the moon, leaving the U.S. space agency with lofty goals — but no firm deadlines — to once again send humans beyond Earth orbit.
Tariq Malik, Space.com

Better to Try and Fail

To think that China taking this monumental step isn’t a big deal, consider this ~ How much pride and hope did America have when our space program was making huge strides across the universe? Everything seemed possible because the impossible was now a reality. Decades of technology funding and big ideas can be traced back to our success in space exploration. If you can’t remember that far back, or don’t feel a sense of awe at the American voices being transmitted from the moon, then consider this bit of wisdom from Planetary Scientist Zhu Menghua, PhD. He states to the  New York Times :

“This space mission shows that China has reached the advanced world-class level in deep space exploration,” said Zhu Menghua, a professor at the Macau University of Science and Technology who has worked closely with the Chinese space agency. “We Chinese people have done something that the Americans have not dared try.”                                                                                              

“The Americans have not dared try.” Wow this makes me angry, because he’s right! Our country has been so busy trying to force a culture change that mimics the “United Federation of Planets” , that we forgot to focus on actual space exploration. The Chinese did not. The Chinese have been playing a massive game of  “capture the flag” and kiss my bao-buns if you don’t like it.

Than Fail to Try

Our leadership decries “imperialism”, while China plants a flag on a rock in disputed territory and dares someone to push them off. Then they terraform that rock and make it an outpost. What happens while the international courts decide who is “rightfully in place”? China puts people on that tiny bit of land, and expands it. David Tweed writes in Bloomberg on 

China claims more than 80 percent of the South China Sea and has stepped up its military presence as well as constructing artificial land features. Vietnam, the Philippines, Brunei, Malaysia and Taiwan claim parts of the same maritime area, a thriving fishing zone through which more than $3 trillion of trade passes each year. In a case brought by the Philippines, an international tribunal in The Hague ruled in 2016 that China’s claims had no legal basis. China dismissed the ruling, saying the tribunal had no jurisdiction.

China’s New Territory

The country with an obvious disdain for borders and international court rulings has just landed on the far side of the Moon. They have a manned program in the works, a presence on the ISS (International Space Station) with plans to build another one, satellites positioned to relay communications from the “dark side of the moon”, and now a probe on the surface of the moon that faces away from earth. The part of the moon that faces the deep regions of space. It’s almost a metaphor of our national philosophies. China is looking to the future, while the US is stuck looking at earth and the past.

In case you are curious about what it looks like, here are pictures via China Xinhua News.

Meanwhile what’s left of NASA did tweet out this exciting information:

We found a space amoeba. Made of ice. It may help us learn how planets form. That will come in handy when we need to terraform off China’s Moon-Base Alpha.

To Infinity, Maybe

Maybe POTUS was on to something with his “Space Force” agenda. How to accomplish that is being laid out by the Pentagon, and will fall under the Air Force. It is timely, in a way that only Donald Trump faux pas seem to be successful. Accidental, incidental, a slip of the twitter thumbs…. doesn’t matter because now it is important. Hopefully this next Congress can look to the future and fund the plans and follow the recommendations from the DoD.

A Bedtime Story, “Goodbye, Moon”

As I look over and see my sleeping 12 year old daughter, I am reminded of the bedtime stories I used to read. Like most kids, she had her favorites and most favorite was “Goodnight, Moon.” I never thought that in under a decade, I’d be watching her sleep whilst writing a post about “Goodbye, Moon.”

If you need a reminder of how it felt to be the first in the race to explore space, I offer this video. For now it’s in English.

 

Featured Image Credit: NASA  NASA material is not protected by copyright unless noted. Media usage guidelines here.

Written by

"CC" to her friends, she's dreaming of warm weather and open spaces. She's lived all over the USA and overseas. These opportunities are great, but she believes that the USA is the most amazing country, and we are so fortunate to have our Constitution and Bill of Rights. She's always happy to have a debate, so long as the participants understand "Feelings are NOT facts". Bring a fact based viewpoint, a good dose of courtesy (Respect is earned, Courtesy is given freely), a bit of thick skin, and fluency in sarcasm. She's happy to chat about anything from Ron Paul, to Ronald Regan. A bit of warning, she has a dedication to General Jim Mattis, and a low threshold for BS. Professionally, she spent almost a decade working in the Defense Contracting industry.

8 Comments
  • Scott says:

    I guess there idea of Chang’e is a little different than the JEF’s…

  • NITZAKHON says:

    I read about America’s loss of nerve and think of China’s history… China had a massive exploratory fleet that they scrapped as they turned inward.

    Just like America is doing now.

    • China plans in eons, while America plans in decades. We really do ourselves a disservice by focusing so much of our mandatory education on Western Civilization and History. We would do better to study Asian history and civilization. It’s easy to dismiss the country that supplies so much of our disposable crap, while forgetting that very country had a vast civilization well before our country was discovered by a guy looking to expand a trade route to Asia. American politicians think the long game is the next election cycle. It’s going to bite us in the long run.
      There’s a reason I want my kids to take Mandarin. We’ll see how it goes, but I think we have been caught flat footed on this one. Maybe if Elon Musk can keep his crap together we can work on a private venture for future settlements. Looks like private will be the best option to stay competitive.

  • F.D.R. in Hell says:

    Are you 100% certain this is authentic?

  • This is really interesting. I would not say we’re lost yet. But we should pay attention.

    One of the very biggest developments the future decades will be the development of the economy in space; it will require development of property rights in outer space (currently supposedly prohibited by the international Outer Space Treaty, but that will prove a dead letter). The race is on, now, to do this, and whoever owns space will essentially run human civilization for the next few centuries. Fools in the Western nations who imagine the great global challenge is “sustainability” and that the great goal is to decarbonize and to detechnologize would hand the game to the Chinese. (I suppose everyone is aware Obama shut down space exploration to focus on climate change.)

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