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Asia's Space Race: China Unveils a Breakthrough

Posted by: Bruce Einhorn on September 29, 2009

Just a few days after India’s space program hit the headlines with the news it helped discover water on the lunar surface, the Chinese space program reminds us that, ahem, there’s another Asian country that has been in the lead in exploring the Moon. According to the official Xinhua news agency, “Chinese experts Monday announced that the country’s space scientists have completed the world’s highest-resolution three-dimensional map of the moon.” Xinhua goes on to report that the 3D map is based on data provided by Chang’e-1, China’s first lunar probe vehicle.

Maybe there’s an innocent explanation for the timing of this Chinese breakthrough; perhaps it’s just a coincidence that the report of the lunar map comes a few days after the big news from India. On the other hand, with the 60th anniversary of the founding of the PRC this week, the folks involved with China’s space program probably don’t want to be overshadowed by their rivals in India right now.

Reader Comments

pathetic loser

September 29, 2009 5:24 AM

to bruce,

aren't you pretty pathetic writing about these issue with your condescension and trying to stir up china-india rivalry. so china can't even talk about its accomplishment without you insinuating that it's targeting india. asian countries are just doing their own things. we don't need the "white man" to divide and conquer.

and why are your articles so full of patronism and's pathetic. get a real job loser


September 29, 2009 9:41 AM

As much as the western media tries very hard the rivalry between China and India, the fact of matter is that China has never felt that way. Maybe India does.

This silly piece is yet another try to get something out of nothing.


September 29, 2009 9:49 AM

Here it is the official beginning of the space race between the two Asian giants. It just the beginning i think you will see China & India competing head on in the next 20-30 years for everything from resources,defense might and to space race. This will start the beginning of two super powers wanting to impress the world who is better....will be fun to watch the international political/economic land scape and the big question is which side the rest of the world countries will take China or India?....who are u with?Let's wait and see


September 29, 2009 10:54 AM

Silly article.


September 29, 2009 11:52 AM

Remember when the USA had a space program that was properly funded? Bankers got a bailout because they messed up moving money from one place to another. You don't do anything! I implore the federal government to start giving money to the best and the brightest in this country and see what we can achieve again.

Henry L.

September 29, 2009 12:25 PM

Mr. Bruce Einhorn, how do you know that they "don't want to be overshadowed by their rivals in India right now". You have access to the Chinese government and they told you that? any evidance that China is in heated competition with India just like when US/Russia was in competition? or you are writing s@#$ based on you biased opinion? again.


September 29, 2009 1:11 PM

it seems that no matter at what level of developement, humans are always concerned about "who's ---- is bigger". Can you imagine a world where we cooperate more and try to overshadow our neighbour a little less? I can.


September 29, 2009 2:00 PM

The sensor instrument on board of indian probe is owned by NASA. India space has nothing to do with it regards to design, control or data gethering. On the other hand, chinese 3d mapping capability is done and designed by chinese scientists. What a comparison I might add.


September 29, 2009 2:42 PM

the reason why it wasn't reported is because it probably isn't factually correct. plus, the world doesn't really care about china's space mission since its directly linked to its over-ambitious military program. and china being the masters of propaganda would've crowed if it indeed was a breakthrough.

sad and upset

September 29, 2009 3:44 PM

it is really unfortunate to talk about it now, that all these discoveries and breakthroughs should have been done by NASA 30-odd years ago, what does that say about us???


September 29, 2009 8:59 PM

Ahem! Is it a "breakthrough" or a PR item by PRC? The resolution is 500m! And where is it? In a news item?


September 29, 2009 10:42 PM

Now I know why Business Week is for sale, and no one is willing give an offer. It is sad to see this once great magazine is degrading to junk status. Pitting one nation against another is not good journalism.

C. H. Ng

September 30, 2009 1:47 AM

Bruce, I do not know what are you trying to prove by highlighting this issue? You always seemed to purposely bring up rivalry between China & India.

As a Chinese myself (though orinally not from China), I don't think China & her people would want to WASTE their time watching their backs at India. I would say they tend to keep thinking of HOW to catch up with USA and the rest of those technically advanced western countries.

Just like in playing chess, you can only improve by playing against the best or someone who is better than you, not someone who is "no better than you".


September 30, 2009 1:58 AM

Humm! This is funny. China claims to have the world’s highest-resolution three-dimensional map of the moon, yet with they couldn't find water. Either they are looking at the wrong map or mapping the wrong place. A fool with a tool is still a fool.


September 30, 2009 9:41 AM

The discovery of water on the moon was the result of collaboration between ISRO and NASA ---- the accent is on COLLABORATION, not sterile competition that pushes up the cost of science.

What's the problem Bruce, reporting with a negative slant is what pushes your career? Space scientists everywhere are outstripping their egos - you and yor organization want to stay behind?


September 30, 2009 7:22 PM

It is in poor taste to bring earnest science down to the level of an ego competition. It is bigger than all of this.


October 24, 2009 1:01 PM

First to all chinese in the name of greg, keith etc. What this article is what in reality is happening between India and China. China will never be India's friend. All the talk of Asian countries and neighbhors etc are shallow. What china does behind the back of many Asian countries is called backstabbing to undermine. China waged proxy war with India using pakistan from last few decades. They gave nuclear and missile technologies and also encouraged pakistan to do lot of terror strikes to undermine Indian economy. So, you still consider it is not rivalry? Do u consider these two contries with millions of their citizen still living in poverty invest in just for earnest science? You guys must be smoking something.

We Indians share nothing with authoritarian communist China. Rivalry and war is inevitable.


November 28, 2009 7:40 PM

Strange article, again noise made but nothing informative said. Yaawwwnnnn.

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