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China's lunar rover awake but ailing

English.news.cn   2014-03-14 20:03:51

This undated photo taken by the camera on the Yutu moon rover shows the Chang'e-3 moon lander and the moon surface. The Chang'e-3 lander entered its third dormancy on early Feb. 23, 2014. China's lunar rover Yutu also entered the dormancy on Feb. 22, with the mechanical control issues that might cripple the vehicle still unresolved. According to the State Administration of Science, Technology and Industry for National Defence (SASTIND), Yutu only carried out fixed point observations during its third lunar day, equivalent to about two weeks on Earth. Yutu's radar, panorama camera and infrared imaging equipment are functioning normally, the control issues that have troubled the rover since January persist. (Xinhua/SASTIND)

BEIJING, March 14 (Xinhua) -- China's moon rover Yutu woke up again at 6:42 a.m. on Friday, after its third dormancy, but even after a long rest, mechanical problems have not been resolved.

Yutu and the lander, which woke up earlier on Wednesday, have restarted their operations and are exploring as scheduled, according to the State Administration of Science, Technology and Industry for National Defence (SASTIND).

The control issues that have troubled Yutu since January remain, but its panorama camera, radar and other equipment are functioning normally, SASTIND said.

The cause of the problems is a mystery. The lander functioned normally during its first three lunar days, according to the SASTIND. A lunar day is equivalent to about two weeks on Earth.

The lander's optical telescope, extreme ultraviolet camera and lunar dust measurement device completed scheduled tasks and obtained a large amount of data.

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, some hours after lunar probe Chang'e-3 landed.

It has now survived its design life of three months.

The rover was intended to roam the lunar surface, surveying the geological structure and substrate while looking for natural resources, but problems emerged before the second dormancy on Jan. 25 as the lunar night fell. According to SASTIND, the problem was caused by the "complicated lunar surface."

Chang'e-3 is part of the second phase of China's lunar program, which includes orbiting, landing and returning to Earth. It follows the success of the Chang'e-1 and Chang'e-2 missions in 2007 and 2010.

China is the third country to soft-land on the moon after the United States and the Soviet Union.


Preparation for Chang'e-5 launch on schedule

BEIJING, March 1 (Xinhua) -- Preparation for the 2017 launch of China's lunar probe Chang'e-5 is going as planned, the country's leading space scientist Ye Peijian told Xinhua on Saturday.

Chang'e-5, as part of China's third-phase lunar program, is expected to bring back moon rock samples to Earth, a move hailed by Ye as "a historic moment" for the country. Full story

China capable of exploring Mars: leading space scientist

BEIJING, March 1 (Xinhua) -- China has the capability of exploring the planet Mars, Ye Peijian, a top scientist with the Chang'e-3 program, the country's lunar probe mission, told Xinhua on Saturday.

China is capable of sending a probe to circle Mars and having it land on the planet, Ye said, adding that the country has no problems with tracking control and communications technology. Full story

China's lunar rover "awakes" despite abnormality:spokesman

BEIJING, Feb. 13 (Xinhua) -- China's moon rover Yutu "awakes" and is able to pick up signals despite it is still experiencing a mechanical control abnormality, a spokesman with the country's lunar probe program said on Thursday.

Pei Zhaoyu, the spokesman, said "the rover stands a chance of being saved as it is still alive". Full story

China Exclusive: China's moon rover experiences abnormality

 BEIJING, Jan. 25 (Xinhua) -- China's moon rover, Yutu (Jade Rabbit), has experienced a mechanical control abnormality, and scientists are organizing repairs.

The abnormality occurred due to "complicated lunar surface environment," the State Administration of Science, Technology and Industry for National Defence (SASTIND) said on Saturday, without giving further details. Full story

Editor: Tang Danlu
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