Credit where credit is due
Congratulations to the Chinese space agency for doing what no one else has bothered to do in almost 40 years: soft-land something on the moon. Hopefully the Yutu rover will have at least some online presence — even more hopefully, it will add some pressure on the West (and the US in particular) to wake the hell up with regard to space and the Moon.
Otherwise, in fifteen years’ time, we’re going to be looking up at a moon that has a permanent Chinese base on it and the rest of us wondering what the hell happened. While I have no objection to that scientifically, it’d be damned embarrassing politically. I would far prefer the first base on the moon be put up by a free nation or some combination of them.
Ironically, this is arguably the advantage of a command economy–the central government says to do it, and it eventually gets done (with varying degrees of speed and/or success).
In the democratic world, every inch of the way has to be argued over and agreed to, and if it’s a project involving more than one nation, it takes even longer… and then when there’s a change of government, a project may be cancelled on the grounds of different priorities or even just shitting on anything the opposition did while they were in power.
That said, I wouldn’t have it any other way. I’ll take fits and starts with freedom over the alternative.