[meteorite-list] China Says Jade Rabbit Moon Rover Alive But Weak
From: Ron Baalke <baalke_at_meteoritecentral.com>
Date: Wed, 28 May 2014 16:04:17 -0700 (PDT)
China says Jade Rabbit moon rover alive but weak
May 28, 2014
(Reuters) - China's Jade Rabbit moon rover is alive and functional, state
media said on Wednesday, but technical problems and bitterly cold lunar
nights have "weakened considerably" the buggy's ability to operate.
Jade Rabbit, named after a lunar goddess in traditional Chinese mythology,
landed on the moon in December to great national fanfare. The buggy, which
began experiencing "mechanical control abnormalities" in late January,
is on a mission to conduct geological surveys and hunt for natural resources.
The rover is still able to send data back to Earth using the Chang'e 3
probe that delivered it, the official Xinhua news agency said, citing
Li Bengzheng, deputy commander-in-chief of China's lunar programme.
But the buggy's wheels and the solar panel designed for thermal insulation
during the frozen lunar nights no longer work, Li said. The craft's functionality
is progressively deteriorating "with each lunar night," Li said.
China has been moving to develop its space programme for military, commercial
and scientific purposes but it is still playing catch-up to established
space powers the United States and Russia.
The Jade Rabbit and the Chang'e 3 probe marked the first "soft landing"
on the moon since 1976. Beforehand, both the United States and the Soviet
Union accomplished the feat.
(Reporting By Matthew Miller; Editing by Raissa Kasolowsky)
Received on Wed 28 May 2014 07:04:17 PM PDT