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China Exclusive: Control circuit malfunction troubles China's Yutu

English.news.cn   2014-03-01 14:23:52

BEIJING, March 1 (Xinhua) -- China's Yutu (Jade Rabbit) moon rover suffered a control circuit malfunction in its driving unit, which troubled its dormancy in extremely low temperature, a scientist said on Saturday.

The control circuit problem prevented Yutu from entering the second dormancy as planned, Ye Peijian, chief scientist of the Chang'e-3 program, told Xinhua in an exclusive interview.

"Normal dormancy needs Yutu to fold its mast and solar panels," said Ye. "The driving unit malfunction prevented Yutu to do those actions."

Ye, a member of the National Committee of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference, the country's top political advisory body, added, "This means Yutu had to go through the lunar night in extremely low temperatures."

Yutu, named after the pet rabbit of the lunar goddess Chang'e in Chinese mythology, touched down on the moon's surface on Dec. 15, a few hours after lunar probe Chang'e-3 landed.

The rover was designed to roam the lunar surface for at least three months to survey the moon's geological structure and surface substances and look for natural resources.

But problems emerged before the rover entered its second dormancy on the moon on Jan. 25 as the lunar night fell. Experts had feared that it might never function again, but it "woke up" on Feb. 12, two days behind schedule.

At present every piece of equipment of Yutu, which is undergoing another dormancy, is getting back to normal, the state of the rover is not encouraging, Ye said.

"We all wish it would be able to wake up again," said Ye ahead of the annual session of the top advisory body, which is scheduled to open on Monday.

Editor: Yamei Wang
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