Sunday, April 27, 2008

Chinese space dominance?

There is an interesting bit on CNN, nominally categorized as election news, which considers US space resources for the next president, and promotes the idea that China will surpass US space dominance by the end of the next president's next term. I am inclined to consider this fear-mongering, or at the very least fishing for a story, and the inclusion of a quote by Bob Zubrin sort of solidifies it for me.

I am a pretty big fan of Zubrin, but I think he has a tendency to exaggerate in order to get people to listen to him (perhaps that is a necessity when discussing the space program). Speaking of the Chinese, Zubrin had this to say:
"And we're standing still. If we continue to stand still, by the middle of the next decade, their space program will be superior to ours and they'll be moving on to the moon and Mars, while we're ... looking back on our former greatness," he said.

That is a gross exaggeration, because up to now, the Chinese have basically been repurposing Russian space technology. I don't think the Chinese have shown definitively they can create their own technology, and they would need to do that in order to put people on the Moon or Mars.

I support the space program, and I want it to succeed compared to the programs of the Russians and the Chinese, but I don't think screaming about the sky falling is the way to do it. At least I hope it isn't.

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