China's Jade Rabbit Moon Rover Encounters Technical Difficulties

Posted on January 27, 2014

Image of Jade Rabbit lunar rover taken by Change 3


China's Jade Rabbit lunar rover (Yutu) has run into technical difficulties. The South China Morning Post reports that Xinhua, China's press agency is saying it may not be possible to repair the rover. Xinhau released a message written as if Yutu said it.

Yutu says, "Masters are working round the clock. In spite of that, I know I might not be able to make it through this lunar night. If this journey is to be suspended ahead of schedule, I am not fearful. No matter whether I can be fixed or not, I believe I have left masters much valuable information and experience."

BBC News reports that Yutu's troubles begin before it entered its latest dormancy period. It was expected to become dormant for two weeks. State media is calling it a "mechanical control abnormality." Hopefully, scientists will find a way to regain communications and control of the rover.

The image above is one of the first images sent back of the rover by China's Chang'e 3 lander. The lander touched down on the surface of the moon on December 14.

Photo: Chang'e 3 lander