kanban From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 1, posted (2 years 6 months 1 week 6 days 10 hours ago) and read 5557 times:
I'm sure they have that ramp figured out, it looks like the rover rolls onto the first section which is hydraulically lowered several feet until the bottom section touches the surface, then the rover rolls off. It looks risky. If one hydraulic (?) is out of synch over the side she goes.
In my first run through the pictures, it looked like the rover levitated down to the ramp.. neat feat.
I think the Chinese have learned from our (Soviet Union & the West) mistakes in space. They know it's pointless to go to the moon for political reasons only, if they go they'll have a plan to exploit the capability. If they go it alone, the capabilities to do that exploitation won't be available in the near term.
Our Chinese friends want a seat at the table - i.e. cooperative space ventures. We should give it to them, keep your friends close and your enemies closer & all that..
The next humans on the moon will be an international team of some sort. They'll figure out a way to send two people down the ladder at the same time and avoid the whole Neil/Buzz who goes first nonsense.
Likewise, the Obama administrations plan to lasso and explore an asteroid - assuming it goes ahead, will morph into an international program. ESA and NASA are already cooperating on Orion/Service Module, maybe BRIC countries will do the lander/habitat/propulsion module. We'll have to figure out how to divert an asteroid sooner or later anyway... May as well do it as an international program and share the benefits / costs / technology.
More likely though there will be another 9/11, energy crisis, religious uprising, or economic calamity to get in the way and absorb resources...