China / Sci-Tech

Long lunar night wait for moon rover

(Agencies) Updated: 2014-01-29 14:03

BEIJING - Chinese scientists will have to wait until the end of a long lunar night, lasting about 14 earth days, to see if repair efforts on the country's first moon rover, dubbed Jade Rabbit, were successful.

Jade Rabbit began experiencing "mechanical control abnormalities" on Saturday when entering the lunar night, which exposes the surface to extreme cold over about 14 earth days. The rover is supposed to shut down during that period.

"The complicated environment on the moon's surface is frequently the main reason leading to abnormalities in the lunar vehicle," said Pang Zhihao, an expert from the China Academy of Space Technology.

Strong radiation, weak gravity, extreme temperature variations and other factors could be to blame for the malfunctions, Pang told the Science and Technology Daily.

China's Jade Rabbit, named after a lunar goddess in traditional Chinese mythology, was launched in mid-December on a mission to conduct geological surveys and search for natural resources.

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.

Long lunar night wait for moon rover

File photo of China's first moon rover 

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