Sunday, December 1, 2013

The hare and the tortoise

A friend of mine sent me this article. In a nutshell, China is launching a robotic rover similar to the Mars reconnaissance probes the U.S. has sent over to the fourth planet from the sun. All well and good, you say. Well, I hate to break it to you, but this is the point where historians will look back and say, 'Yep, that's where China became the dominant country to colonize space.'
The tortoise has overtaken the hare. They are not stealing technology. They are not copying our technology. China has been building on each and every mission. Not every trip into space has been 100 % successful. Hey, with every great risk...
This is simply my two cents. When the U.S. does something right, (the Apollo missions.) We're great. When we have mishaps. (Challenger and Columbia.) We tend to shrink back from the opportunity to learn from our mistakes. This article sums it up better than I could. I tend to be more direct. They are catching up to America and will soon pass us in terms of space technology. China has already proven it is able to become a manufacturing economic powerhouse. Don't believe me? Pick up any object in your house and see where it was manufactured.
Still not convinced? 2016 and 2025 aren't that far off. Americans will eventually get back to the lunar surface. The Chinese will be there to greet us. Don't think for a second that they won't dictate terms to Americans who wish to travel, explore and colonize the system.
The Chinese are very adept at sticking to 5 year plans. Right now those plans include putting men on the moon and space freighters. Isn't that what the shuttles were described as? China will have gone from a 1960's technology base to a 1980's tech in five years. 
That terrifies me.
So let's play this one out. The Chinese put a man on the moon. Then a base on the moon. Followed by a manufacturing plant. It's just a short step from mining the moon to mining asteroids. All in 5 year steps.
By the time we put astronauts back on the moon, there will be a Chinese foundry/ research station/ manufacturing plant there. 
Think I'm making this up?
Whoever puts a base on the Moon and mines the Trojans will control the solar system. Mark my words.
We can learn and adapt to this or we can go extinct.
Sorry, I'm not being figurative here. 
In a related story: India launched a Mars recon probe.
Checkmate NASA. Your move Virgin Galactic.

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