News Picks : Chinese lunar rover appears to be broken
29 January 2014
New Scientist: China’s Chang’e-3 lander reached the Moon on 7 December 2013 and released the Yutu, or “Jade Rabbit” rover onto the Moon’s surface. Because the Moon is tidally locked with Earth, a lunar night lasts roughly half an Earth month. Temperatures during the lunar night reach −180 °C, so both the lander and rover are designed to enter a hibernation mode during that time to help protect their equipment. Although both successfully hibernated during their first lunar night, it appears Yutu failed to enter its sleep mode during the second night period. China’s Xinhua news agency did not specify the cause or nature of the failure, but it is likely due to lunar dust, which is exceptionally abrasive, and the stresses of the 200-degree temperature change between lunar day and night.