China`s Jade Rabbit Moon rover experiences mechanical abnormality
Zee Media Bureau/Salome Phelamei
Beijing: China`s first lunar rover, Jade Rabbit Moon rover has run into trouble after experiencing a `mechanical control abnormality`, state media announced.
The six-wheeled Yutu vehicle ran into problems due to the moon`s “complicated lunar surface environment”, Xinhua news agency said, quoting science officials.
The Yutu lunar rover, which was launched on December 1, 2013, reached the Moon`s surface on 14 December 2013, as part of China`s Chang`e-3 mission. The mission marks the first rover to `soft land` on the Moon by a space probe in 37 years since 1976.
Developed by Shanghai Aerospace System Engineering Institute (SASEI) and Beijing Institute of Spacecraft System Engineering (BISSE), Yutu was designed to roam the lunar surface for three months while surveying for natural resources and sending back data, along with its stationary lander, Chang`e 3.
The malfunction occurred just as the rover was about to be temporarily shut down for the Lunar night that lasts two weeks. During this period the rover was due to become dormant as there`s no sunlight to power the rover`s solar panel.
Without giving further details, Xinhua added that the scientists with the country`s space program were organising the repairs.
The mission has been a popular success for China`s space program with the rover attracting over 150,000 followers on its microblog.
China`s Chang`e-3 is part of a multi-phase program aimed at a manned Moon landing in the year 2025.
Pic credit: Wikipedia
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