china moon

Last month we picked up on a report from China’s state news agency which was about Chang’e-3, a probe that the country was sending to the moon. It took off from Xichang as planned and landed on the moon’s surface on December 15th. China called its first moon rover the “Yutu,” meaning Jade Rabbit, a mythical being believed to have a mix of mechanical abnormality and elixirs of immortality, according to China’s state space agency. In reality though, the rover isn’t immortal, in fact, it may bite the moon dust after just one month. Apparently it has ran into a “mechanical control abnormality,” possibly compromising motors that close its solar panels.

Xinhua, the country’s official news agency, reported that internet users were expressing sympathy with the short lived rover, which was originally meant to spend three months on the moon before taking a bow. It might also trouble the Chinese space agency given that the news of Jade Rabbit’s imminent demise came the exact same day that NASA’s Opportunity rover completed its decade long stay on the moon. Even if China is able to revive Yutu, it will still have to stay live for almost a month and a half to break Sojourner’s record, Sojourner was a NASA rover that spent two months and 20 days up there. If it does that, there will still be a long way to go to beat USSR’s Lunokhod 2, which spent nine and a half months after landing on November 17th, 1970.

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