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Reflections on a Wandering Life.....
Friday, January 04, 2019
China on the Far Side
China has landed on the far side of the moon. At least, that's what the pictures show. I have mixed feelings about this. In a sense, it is a good idea, because it has not been done before. But another part of me wonders if this is another expression of China's age-old secretiveness. The moon changes in terms of it's relationship with the sun, but not with the earth. In other words, the near side of the moon sees darkness and also sees the sun. The far side of the moon sees both light and darkness. But due to the pattern of its rotation and revolution around the earth (it's rotation exactly equals it's revolution), the far side of the moon never sees the earth. So there is absolutely no way to get communication from an object on the far side of the moon, except from a satellite station that is currently traveling around the moon. I don't know. We'll have to wait and see.
Will China ever put a man on the moon? I think they want to. But if it happens, it will be a few years. It's a very big step from sending an unmanned object, to sending a human being. What is most interesting is the independent nature of China's space program. As far as I know, they have never been part of the International Space Station. Is that because of China, or because of America? I don't know the answer to that, either. How is it that, for all their differences, the Russians and the Americans can find a way to work together, but China is isolated? We'll have to see how that goes. But China has stated emphatically that if they build a space station, they intend to bring in countries from the developing world. If that's true, then I tend to think that China's independence could end up being a good thing.
Talk about a "space race" doesn't really bother me. The moon is so inhospitable, the chances of being able to establish a permanent presence are, I think, very slim. The Americans are talking now about a space station in moon orbit. That would seem to be easier than building a permanent station of any kind on the moon. The moon is incredibly hot during the moon day (half of that 28 day period) and unimaginably cold during the moon night. So I don't see them ever being able to establish a moon-based station that is more or less permanent. But a rotating space station is a distinct possibility if they are willing to pay for the process of resupply, which would, of course, be much more costly than resupplying a space station that is in low orbit around the earth. One thing is clear: China is determined to have a space presence, so that will continue. But just what form it will take is uncertain. The world is going to be watching.