China has once again amazed the world. It appears the world is easily amazed.

First, there was the exaggerated praise heaped on China for successfully docking with a space station (duplicating a feat the United States and Soviet Union accomplished decades ago).

Now, China has astounded journalists with a record-breaking submersible dive to the bottom of the Mariana Trench.

Except, the dive didn’t break any records. The reported depth (7,015 meters) is only about two-thirds of the depth James Cameron reached in his self-funded dive a few weeks ago (which is the greatest depth any human being can reach). It’s also two-thirds of the depth which Jacques Picard and US Navy Lieutenant Don Walsh reached in 1960. Apparently, the Chinese weren’t diving the deepest part of the trench.

Still, the fact that the populous largest nation almost managed to equal a feat accomplished by a private citizen is considered a sign of “global leadership.” (Does that make James Cameron a global leader?)

This lack of perspective is embarrassing. If this continues, we may find ourselves about how China has made history by landing on the Moon – about a decade or so after US commercial space companies and 60 years after Apollo. 

Written by Astro1 on June 26th, 2012 , Space Exploration (General)

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