China And Asteroids

This sounds sort of hinky to me (as is usually the case with Chinese space announcements). They’re going to bring an asteroid into cislunar space within a decade, but don’t think they’ll have the technology to process it until four decades from now? And how does getting artificial gravity from a spinning asteroid work, exactly? Also, pretty sure there will be some intense discussions about what kind of liability China will assume under the Liability Convention if they attempt this.

14 thoughts on “China And Asteroids”

  1. Spinning an asteroid … They must be thinking a small one. Both a matter of what they can move, and larger asteroids tend to be loose rubble piles.

    1. Spoilsport.

      Asteroids are solid chunks of rock or of metal. You don’t watch Star Trek, now, do you?

  2. Maybe the Chinese expedition will include former Apple Computer exec and Be computer founder Jean-Louis Gassee, who disclosed he has the rare blood condition cythemia in connection with the putative blood-testing scam from that blonde babe. A condition related to xenopolycythemia that McCoy on Star Trek suffered from in The World is Hollow and I Have Touched the Sky?

    And they will find that one of the Earth-crossing asteroids was made hollow to function as a star ship for an alien race? And Mr. Gassee will fall in love with the priestess in charge of the alien asteroid community, who is not really all that pretty because he is in not Bill Shatner who would have the romantic interest if she were?

    If all that falls into place for the Chinese, they can activate the propulsion system of the asteroid-starship. Piece of cake.

    1. “Not really all that pretty?” Allow me to provide a basis for judgement to the others here.

      The late Ms. Woodville was not, IMHO, among the Top Ten Guest Star Babes of Star Trek: The Original Series, but that is an exceedingly tough list to crack. Still, she was, again IMHO, solidly in the top half. She reminds me rather a lot of the Top Gun-era Kelly McGillis.

      The TOS Top Ten Guest Star Babes, in order of their appearances on the show, are, IMHO: Sherry Jackson, Susan Oliver, Barbara Anderson, Jill Ireland, Arlene Martel, Leslie Parrish, Julie Newmar, Nancy Kovack, Barbara Bouchet and Sabrina Scharf.

        1. In the salt monster’s shape-shifted form as Nancy Crater (Jeanne Bal), I thought she was rather cute. Don’t know Ms. Bal’s ethnicity, but maybe this is a racial thing on my part to find her more attractive than Ms. Woodville on the hollow asteroid?

      1. Geez, I get called out for objectifying a Star Trek alien babe?

        Maybe I was thinking of Chekov’s “drill thrall” in Gamesters of Triskelion?

        OK, maybe “not really all that pretty” is unfair to Ms. Woodville

        But if people are willing to indulge me a bit, where both in high school and on Star Trek there was a caste system regarding which women went to the prom with which men, Bill was the fresh-faced jock who made “huh!” sounds when punched in fight scenes whereas DeForest was the somewhat craggier-faced dude planning on majoring in Chemistry in college who couldn’t fight his way out of a wet paper bag (see Bread and Circuses). The “Bills” in high school who had high opinions of their athletic and leadership potential would be paired with the women with high opinions of their good looks whereas the “DeForests” could interest women in going out with them, but they were paired with women who were more modest in this regard.

  3. The article describes an effort that is a start, which is fine, but just a start. The Chinese are at about where the US was 25 years ago in asteroid development technology. They are just now seriously beginning to examine the field. That they are doing so is not bad, but it is easy to overhype it at this stage.

    I was unable to comment on the article in the SCMP, because I am “not authorized”, which probably means I’m on the Security Bureau’s lists. Not too surprising, actually. Most of the comments had already degraded into mutual insults. My hopes for injecting some technical knowledge into the comments are dead-on-arrival because the “not authorized” status.

    1. The Chinese are at about where the US was 25 years ago in asteroid development technology.

      How many asteroids has the US developed? Since there is an extremely high likelihood that China has access to everything the USA has done on the subject of asteroids, they can’t be too far behind us.

  4. There is a huge misnomer in the idea that China is X years behind us. Progress is not a linear number line, but a non-linear web. They could very well be ahead of us in some respects. The population is not just rice farmers and have some of the highest IQ’s and education on the planet. They can also concentrate the funding they need for projects. Knowledge can propogate fast after initial discoveries.

    Having an elite attitude toward the Chinese is a good way get caught flat footed. That they have a long term perspective is a great advantage. Flexibility is probably their greatest shortcoming, but as the saying goes…”quantity has a quality all it’s own.” If I lost you on that you may want to consider it longer?

    We’ve got to the point where we are more likely to analyse and debate rather than do. We can pat ourselves on the back for being so smart while others do things the ‘dumb’ way (called experience which historically had quite the teaching value.)

    Yeah, I’ll bet on the smart way as well, but without being smug about it. One day we may have a shock coming and we’ll wonder how we got there.

    1. Yup, China’s space program is doing really well. They take small risks and steadily build on them. In a few years they will have their new space station with a companion telescope. It will be serviced by astronauts and autonomous vehicles. They are sending robots to celestial bodies, just like we are. With competitive launchers, expansive missile technology, and sophisticated nuclear weapons, it is really hard to claim they are “behind” us.

      Complacency and decadal missteps will see our capabilities eclipsed in many areas. But our system can outperform their’s if we continue the return to American principles in how we act in space.

      They are not quite on par with our capabilities but they will be soon. There need not be confrontation with the Chinese but there are far too many people who think that the notion of them being societal competitors is evil. Many of these people either want or have no issue with our capabilities being eclipsed. Or they have the racially chauvinistic view that the Chinese are incapable. The scary part is that they hold a lot of power in government and the sciences.

      More people need to study the effects technological supremacy has had on the longevity of societies throughout history.

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