China's Jade Rabbit moon rover awake but still malfunctioning

BEIJING Wed Feb 12, 2014 10:01pm EST

A photograph of the giant screen at the Beijing Aerospace Control Center shows photo of the Yutu, or ''Jade Rabbit'' lunar rover taken by the camera on the Chang'e 3 probe during the mutual-photograph process, in Beijing December 15, 2013. REUTERS/Stringer

A photograph of the giant screen at the Beijing Aerospace Control Center shows photo of the Yutu, or ''Jade Rabbit'' lunar rover taken by the camera on the Chang'e 3 probe during the mutual-photograph process, in Beijing December 15, 2013.

Credit: Reuters/Stringer

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BEIJING (Reuters) - China's Jade Rabbit moon rover has endured a long lunar night but is still malfunctioning, state media said on Thursday, after technical problems last month cast uncertainty over the country's first moon landing.

Jade Rabbit, named after a lunar goddess in traditional Chinese mythology, landed to domestic fanfare in mid-December, on a mission to do geological surveys and hunt natural resources.

The moon buggy began experiencing "mechanical control abnormalities" late in January, when entering its second 14-day lunar night, a period that exposes the surface to extreme cold.

Scientists had said the outcome of the repair efforts would be unclear until the rover emerged from the period of darkness, during which it is supposed to shut down.

But after awakening this week, Jade Rabbit is still not functioning properly, China National Radio said, citing Pei Zhaoyu, a spokesman for the lunar probe program.

"It's awake. We have a signal. But the problem still hasn't been resolved," Pei said, but gave no further details.

Experts are still working to fix the rover, the official Xinhua news agency said.

China has been increasingly ambitious in developing its space programs for military, commercial and scientific purposes. But it is still playing catch-up to established space superpowers the United States and Russia.

The Jade Rabbit, and the Chang'e 3 probe that delivered it, marked the first "soft landing" on the moon since 1976, before which both the United States and the Soviet Union accomplished the feat.

The United States has successfully landed four rovers on Mars, two of which are still active. The decade-old Opportunity recently found evidence that life-friendly fresh water once pooled on the red planet's surface.

(Reporting by Michael Martina; Editing by Clarence Fernandez)

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Comments (2)
bmmm wrote:
Made in China.

Feb 14, 2014 3:22pm EST  --  Report as abuse
carlmartel wrote:
There are technical problems with the rover but not with the soft landing that succeeded in December. The wheels are not as big as those on the US lunar buggy in the 1970′s. The Moon has more dust caused by solar wind, so Mars rover wheels won’t work as well on the Moon.

The real prize is the asteroid belt, a planet that never formed. The Earth has 268 trillion cubic miles but only about 67 million of them are available for exploitation. The resources of the asteroids in the asteroid belt are not covered with oceans and don’t have molten cores to prevent full development. Engines can be put on asteroids to bring them close to Mars, the Moon, and the Earth for economic exploitation. Joint stock companies can be formed to let all nations participate and prosper without fighting wars. This would increase Earth’s resources by a factor of 4,000 or 400,000% without military conflicts, casualties, and wasteful costs that resolve few issues.

China works on its own version of GPS called Baidu and develops its own space station because the US refuses to allow China to cooperate in international ventures with the US. America’s refusal to work with China means that China will develop in ways that the US may or may not like. Any situations that the US regards as problems are the fault of the US because the US has demanded its isolation from China.

Feb 15, 2014 6:44pm EST  --  Report as abuse
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