The Jade Rabbit, or Yutu, ran into technical difficulties on the Moon’s surface, and “came back to life” just hours later. Although the rover is still malfunctioning, Pei Zhaoyu, spokesman for the lunar programme, stated: “At least it is alive so it is possible we could save it.”
Jade Rabbit was designed to spend three months on the Moon looking for natural resources. It is believed that the Moon could offer solar power generation as well as being the home of uranium, titanium and other mineral resources. The rover’s name was chosen in an online poll of 3.4 million voters.
The lunar landing was on December 15th last year and Jade Rabbit was able to send images back to Earth mere hours after, however it ran into technical problems in the last month of its service. The “mechanical control abnormality” was caused by the complicated lunar surface environment, the official Xinhua news agency reported.
China is only the third country to complete a lunar rover mission, following on from the US and Soviet Union. Yutu came a decade after China sent their first astronaut into space. Sky news stated that the Jade Rabbit was seen as a “symbol of the country’s growing global stature, increasing technological influence and reversing the fortunes of the once-impoverished country.”