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  • Jul 13, 2014
  • Updated: 10:46pm

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

‘It came back to life’: China’s Jade Rabbit snaps out of silence but mechanical kinks remain

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 13 February, 2014, 9:51am
UPDATED : Friday, 14 February, 2014, 3:26am

The Jade Rabbit lunar rover has bounced back to life but is suffering the same problems as before, state media reported on Thursday.

China National Radio quoted the country’s lunar programme spokesman Pei Zhaoyu as saying the rover showed signs of "wakefulness".

“It’s basically returned to the state it was in before it went to sleep,” Pei said. “It’s awake, but the problems are still there.”

Xinhua posted on its official Weibo account also quoting Pei as saying the lunar rover still could be saved.

“Jade Rabbit went to sleep in an abnormal state. We were worried it wouldn’t be able to endure the lunar night’s extremely low temperatures, but it’s come back to life! As long as it’s alive, there’s the possibility it can be saved.”

“Hi, anyone there?” space enthusiasts posted on Jade Rabbit’s unofficial Weibo account on Thursday, prompting thousands of responses within minutes.

In late January, the six-wheeled rover reported a “mechanical control abnormality” and was pronounced dead six weeks into its three-month mission and just before the moon entered a two-week lunar night, when temperatures drop to minus 180 degrees Celsius.

Jade Rabbit reached the moon on December 15, making China only the third country to make a soft-landing on the moon and the first since the Soviet Union mission nearly 40 years ago.

The rover has been a source of great pride for China and millions have chartered the rover’s progress and shared in its successes and misfortunes.

Deputy chief designer of Chang’e-3’s probe system Zhang Yuhua told the radio station that the rover had three main mechanical subsystems: one controlled the solar panel’s folding and unfolding function, the second controlled four mast-mounted cameras and the third controlled the front arm. But he said it was unknown where the problem occurred.

The probe is named Yutu or Jade Rabbit after the pet of Chang’e, the goddess of the moon in Chinese mythology.

An unverified weibo user “Jade Rabbit Lunar Rover”, which has posted first-person accounts in the voice of the probe, made its first update since January, when it had declared: “Goodnight, earth. Goodnight, humans.”

Xinhua has said the account is “believed to belong to space enthusiasts who have been following Yutu’s journey to the moon”.

China first sent an astronaut into space a decade ago and is the third country to complete a lunar rover mission after the United States and the former Soviet Union.

The rover was tasked to carry out astronomical observations and investigate the moon's geological structure and mineral composition.

The landing was a key step forward in Beijing’s ambitious military-run space programme, which include plans for a permanent orbiting station by 2020 and eventually sending a human to the moon.

The projects are seen as a symbol of China’s rising global stature and technological advancement, as well as the Communist Party’s success in reversing the fortunes of the once-impoverished nation.

The central government said the mission was “a milestone in the development of China’s aerospace industry under the leadership of ... Comrade Xi Jinping”.

With additional reporting from Agence France-Presse

Watch: Before it broke down, Jade Rabbit's first steps on the moon

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2649790868@qq.com
If China 50 years time it will be very scary
lucifer
Wednesday this week, Xinhua announced it was dead. That was Yesterday. Clearly there was an argument that went on in government circles and it was decided that they could BS its way back to life. Who would know? They figured they already had enough photos....this way, no loss of face. Unbelievable China.
justice_first
let everyone speculate, for now, what has happened to the Yutu. The truth will come out in due course, as to whether it can still function in some ways, after being put in a most dangerous test, in its mission on the surface of the moon. If it survive the test, then we should give China the credit of having done something remarkable.
It was not a "failure", but a test to prepare for even more challenging ventures.
dienw
Well done to China for landing a rover on the moon (and giving it a very cute name) but, as to whether the truth will out, hmm, have doubts about that!
ohyeahar
It’s great that China is trying its hand at space exploration. But the Yutu rover is not breaking any new grounds and it appears that outside of China, nobody really cares. To make matters worse, the rover just illustrates how far behind China is.

Yutu landed on the moon, which is about 380,000 km away, on 14 Dec. It stopped responding a month later.

Compare that with the Opportunity rover which landed on Mars in Jan 2004. Mars is 55 million km away even at its closest point. Over ten years later, Opportunity is still in operation.
ngsw
Don't forget China only came to life after Deng xiaoping pushed China to capitalism. Just 30 years China has overtaken many countries although still behind some most developed countries. You guess what it will become after another 30 years.
jiawang@adb.org
Had not Europe, Japan, and the US opened their markets to China, where was China going to export its goodies?
lucifer
...you also assume that the rest of the world, including the U.S. will also not be moving forward. Up until this point is has been low hanging fruit for China.
lucifer
I think the jury is still out on that.
The formula it has used up until now is clearly not sustainable, so your premise of continued solid growth for 30 years rests on the belief they will be able to successfully transform the economy from an export and fixed asset investment driven economy to one driven by domestic consumption. I have serious doubts that the political system will be able to adapt and make the necessary reforms, which in turn reduce its power.
XYZ
Successfully landing something on the moon and transmitting pictures back is a big accomplishment. Well done.
.
Please don't cheapen the accomplishment by turning an understandable technical failure into an embarrassing bundle of propagandistic rubbish.

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