• Sat
  • Dec 20, 2014
  • Updated: 8:25pm

Jade Rabbit lunar rover

China's Jade Rabbit - or Yutu - rover is the first vehicle to land on the Moon in almost 40 years. The Chang'e-3 mission blasted off from Xichang in southern China on December 1, 2013, and landed on the Moon’s surface on December 14. Developed by Shanghai Aerospace System Engineering Institute and Beijing Institute of Spacecraft System Engineering, the lunar rover was designed to explore an area of 3 square kilometres (1.2 sq mi) during its 3-month mission.

NewsChina
SPACE

Beijing, we have a problem: China's first moon rover Jade Rabbit breaks down

Experts fear Jade Rabbit could be lost after it encountered mechanical 'abnormality' just halfway through three-month lunar mission

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 25 January, 2014, 12:00pm
UPDATED : Sunday, 26 January, 2014, 9:40am

China's first lunar rover, the Jade Rabbit, appears to have broken down halfway through its three-month mission to the moon.

Jade Rabbit experienced a "mechanical control abnormality" and scientists were examining the best ways to carry out repairs, Xinhua reported.

The problem was the result of a "complicated lunar surface environment", Xinhua cited the State Administration of Science, Technology and Industry for National Defence as saying.

The solar-powered Jade Rabbit, or Yutu, was supposed to carry out geological surveys and astronomical observations for three months after the Beijing Aerospace Control Centre announced its soft landing on the moon on December 14.

"Reading between the lines, I think the Chinese are preparing for the loss of their rover," said Lutz Richter, a planetary rover specialist with Kayser-Threde, a German aerospace company that works with Nasa and the European Space Agency.

"This is speculation, but I think there's a problem with the electrical motors that close the solar panels," he added.

If the solar panels were not able to close, internal electrical components sensitive to temperature that would normally be shielded would freeze during the lunar night and become damaged beyond repair, said Richter.

The problem arose before Jade Rabbit went into its second dormancy at dawn yesterday - the start of the lunar night, which lasts the equivalent of about two weeks on earth. The lunar daytime temperature can reach 100 degrees Celsius, while at night it plunges to minus 180C.

Jade Rabbit and the Chang'e-3 lunar lander "woke up" two weeks ago after the first two-week dormancy.

"It might be dust blocking the mechanism," Richter said, adding that extreme temperatures could also damage its hinges and motors.

The Xinhua statement highlighted previous failures of space missions by other countries, such as the crash of the US lunar probe Ranger 4 in 1962 and that of a Japanese probe in 1993.

But Professor Jiao Weixin , deputy director of the China Society of Space Research's space probe committee, said it was surprising that problems should occur so soon.

"Despite some minor problems, Opportunity, the US Mars rover that also had a design lifespan of three months, is still working after almost 10 years," Jiao said.

"It is quite surprising that Yutu should experience problems at such an early stage."

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daily
I guess "Made in China" today, is still the same meaning as it was many years ago..........it means that don't expect the product to last...........use it for a bit and toss it out.
charlie212
Oh thank you merecedes2233 for telling me how deprived my life is. I just looked in the mirror and you are absolutely right. Some people who make comments here are just so gifted and highly intelligent. Did you see those russian souvenirs during your transit 2 hr stopover in alsaka sitting in economy class on your way to canada to buy property because it's so polluted here in the mainland thanks to all the wonderful cheap factories that line the pockets of millionaires at the expense of peoples health and the environment which is why everything is yes - made in china. yes yes cheap cheap no problem no problem we make fast and cheap for you (as the coal chimneys are billowing in the background) lol - go educate your self you propaganda activist
charlie212
yes china is finally in the space race - 40 years later - boring !!! u.s has been there done that. It took china 40 years to copy the americans just like they copy everything else. aircraft carriers, airplanes, rockets, moon rovers, apple products etc.. etc.. etc... chinese have zero and i mean ZERO creativity -but they sure are good at copying ! (well aesthetically anyway - the internal components are usually **** - i.e. moon rover) haha
lucifer
They should have bought electric motors from Germany....
....but now I am thinking they probably did, but whoever was in charge of that order, substituted Chinese electric motors from a remote control toy and pocketed the difference, which he promptly sent to his bank account in the Cayman Islands.
aplucky1
omg
this hilarious
too bad they did not have some other design to knock off they could have avoided this embarrassment
lucifer
You are missing the point. Sure there will be mishaps for the pioneers of space exploration, but it was worth it, because the technological dividend is huge and all kinds of technologies and products based on these technologies were the net result. China's space program is nothing more than an expensive propaganda effort. The Shenzhou is simply a modified Soyuz capsule, yet in a nation where a population larger than the United States is still living below the U.N. poverty line, the Chinese government has the money to buy, copy, steal or whatever they need to do, so that they can be the only other country to have put men in space. Do you think Japan, or France could have done the same years ago? Of course, but since it was already done, the net benefit would be next to zero and the cost would be enormous. In a democratic society, it would be difficult to justify such an expensive undertaking that yields almost no technological dividend. If China gets any at all, it will be how to better aim their missiles and how to destroy satellites, which is probably their primary motivation.
ssslmcs01
This is a minor setback in a very big project, every country that has gone into space has suffered setbacks at different stages of their journey into space. I'm very confident that the bright scientists working on this problem will solve it very soon.
Keep up the good work guys.
oxymoron19
National pride driven propaganda is enough to pour in wasted money for this space charade. What is there to collect that you can't find from the internet thanks to the US/USSR data shared decades ago?
charlie212
"mechanical control abnormality"?? oh...so you mean it's "B r o k e n" lol.
it was just a matter of time, that's what you get a "made in china" rover.
realestate
Mercedes 2233 just for you info : " what the world can make China can fake'

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