The Sciences

Did the Chinese fake their space walk?

Bad AstronomyBy Phil PlaitOct 8, 2008 1:53 PM


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No. I assume, as usual, you want more info, though! There is a rumor going around that the Chinese government faked their space walk last week. I'm getting email about an article in The Epoch Times, and the article has obvious leanings against the Chinese government. I'm no fan of their government either, to be honest, but this article has many signs of the authors wearing tin foil changshans. They bring up the suspicious timing of the spacewalk, for example, as it comes when China is under attack about poisoned milk:

Political analysts say that due to tremendous domestic and international pressure, the Chinese regime moved up its spacewalk in hopes to shift focus away from the milk scandal.

What political analysts? Odd that the two journalists who wrote the article, Zhang Haishan and Shi Yu, wouldn't actually list any obvious sources. All they ever do is quote unnamed Chinese bloggers, and never go to any other sources. It's things like that which should set off your baloney detectors. The claims themselves are pretty bad, too. Below is a video of the spacewalk. The article claims this was all shot underwater, in a practice tank! As it plays, watch when the hatch opens. See the debris blowing out? The article claims these are bubbles! That's really silly. It's obviously debris from inside the craft. Again, an unnamed blogger says that if this were filmed underwater, the bubbles rose too fast. The authors claim it's possible a fan blew them. Yeeeeeah. Watch as the taikonaut comes out of the hatch. Observe his movements. Imagine him in a bulky suit underwater, then watch as he waves to the camera. That's clearly not underwater; his motions are too rapid to be impeded by water. The movement of the straps and other things hanging off the suit don't look like they are underwater either; they look like they are in microgravity. Another claim is that you can see banks of lights reflected off the taikonauts wrist reflectors. I watched carefully, and all I see reflected in the mirrors are the black of space, with occasional reflections of the Earth above. I think it's the latter that's claimed to be the lights. My opinion: all in all, this sounds like yet more conspiracy theorists looking for things that aren't there, and making stuff up as they see fit. This reads just like an article by Moon hoaxers, looking for anything they don't understand and trying to wedge some nuttiness into reality. Tip o' the spacesuit visor to Steven Andreadis and Leonard David.

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