CHINA’S TROUBLED JADE Rabbit lunar rover has died on the surface of the moon, state media reported today, in a major setback for the country’s ambitious space programme.
The rover “could not be restored to full function”, the state-owned China News Service said in a brief statement, after the country’s first moon rover ran into mechanical problems last month.
The Jade Rabbit, or Yutu in Chinese, was deployed on the moon’s surface on 15 December. The landing was the first of its kind since the former Soviet Union’s mission nearly four decades ago.
But the rover experienced a “mechanical control abnormality” late January, according to the official Xinhua news agency, and has been unable to function since then.
The mission was a huge source of pride in China, the third country to successfully send a lunar rover to the moon, after the United States and the former Soviet Union.
- © AFP 2014.