“The Eagle has landed…” were the famous words uttered by US astronauts as they landed on the moon. But did they really, asks Fox Television. In its programme Conspiracy Theory: Did We Land on the Moon? Fox interviewed a number of sceptics who think the lunar landings were faked. And it looks like we will discover if they are right some time in the next decade, courtesy of an unlikely party – the Chinese.
At the end of December China released a white paper committing to a manned lunar landing some time after 2020. And once they get there the taikonauts should be able to silence the conspiracy theorists once-and-for-all by shooting video of the original US flag planted somewhere in the vicinity of its own.
WiC has written before about China’s high orbit ambitions (see the Space Programme section of our website). Last week Beijing’s scientists also began a trial of Beidou, an alternative to the US navigational standard Global Positioning System (GPS). Named after the Big Dipper star constellation, Beidou can now offer location, timing and navigation data within China and its surrounding regions. But by 2020 a total of 35 satellites will give Beidou a global footprint, rivalling GPS. China says this will be a boon for its telecoms industry but US military strategists say China’s own military has been pushing for an independent system, to reduce its reliance on GPS data – in the event of conflict.
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