China`s first lunar rover and lander wake up after 2 weeks
Beijing: China`s first lunar rover `Yutu` and the Chang`e-3 lander have woken up after a period of dormancy that lasted two weeks, in a move designed to ride out harsh climactic conditions on the Moon.
Yutu was awakened yesterday evening and has finished necessary setting procedures and entered a normal working mode following orders from the Beijing Aerospace Control Center (BACC).
It has now started its rove around the moon surface and scientific missions.
Chang`e-3 has also been awakened automatically this morning, and is currently in normal condition, a statement issued by the BACC said.
One night on the moon lasts about 14 days on Earth, during which the temperature falls below minus 180 celsius and there is no sunlight to provide power to the instruments` solar panels.
"During the lunar night, the lander and the rover were in a power-off condition and the communication with Earth was also cut off," said Zhou Jianliang, chief engineer of the BACC.
"When the night ends, they will be started up with the power provided by sunlight and resume operation and communication according to pre-set programmes," Zhou was quoted as saying by the state-run Xinhua news agency.
The awakening of the rover and lander marks the success of Chinese technology in surviving the lunar night, and the center will instruct the two instruments to carry on scheduled exploration missions, the chief engineer added.
The rover fell asleep on December 26 as the mission`s first lunar night arrived, the report said.
Chang`e-3 soft-landed on the moon`s Sinus Iridium, or the Bay of Rainbows, on December 14 last year, and Yutu later separated from the lander.
The landing of the probe Chang`e-3, with China`s first lunar rover, marked the first time that a soft landing has been made on the moon in nearly four decades.
China`s success made it one of three world powers to make a "soft landing" as part of an ambitious programme that aims to put a Chinese astronaut on the Moon.
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