China's Lunar Probe Crashes Into The Moon

The BBC reported yesterday that China, the third nation to put a man into space, has crashed a probe into the moon.

But don't worry. That's totally what they meant to do.

Controlled crash of Chinese lunar probeControlled crash of Chinese lunar probe

The remote controlled Chang'e satellite had been orbiting the moon since late 2007 on a surface-mapping mission. And contrary to early rumors, the crash did not occur when someone's little brother tried to steal the controller.

Wu Weiren, the chief designer with China's lunar program says that ultimately, the next phase of the space program is to achieve a soft landing. He went on to say that "the success of the Chang'e-1 mission had realized the dream of the whole nation and pushed forward the development of science and technology. It also proved China was capable of exploring the outer space" (Xinhua).

I'm not sure if exploring space for the sake of exploring space is such a great idea. Especially when the costs in money and in human life are so high (think back to the tragic launch of the Long March).

Personally, if I were chief designer of China's lunar program, my lunar mapping mission would have consisted of a quick phone call to Neil Armstrong:

Me: So dude, I hear you went to the moon. How'd that go for you?
Neil: Umm yeah, there's nothing up there.
Me: Ok thanks, bub-bye spaceman.

China's lunar probe crash, and artist's renderingChina's lunar probe crash, and artist's rendering