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China's moon rover Jade Rabbit declared officially dead

Feb. 12, 2014 at 4:11 PM   |   Comments

BEIJING, Feb. 12 (UPI) -- China's lunar rover Yutu -- or Jade Rabbit – has been officially declared dead, a statement on a state-run news agency website said.

The rover began experiencing problems last month, just six weeks into its three-month mission, and on Jan. 25 the lander that brought Jade Rabbit to the moon successfully went in to hibernation to wait out the lunar cold but the rover appeared to have failed, the ECNS website said Wednesday.

With communication with the vehicles impossible during lunar night, mission operators had to wait for the new lunar day beginning Monday to confirm whether the rover would respond.

"China's first lunar rover, Yutu, could not be restored to full function on Monday as expected, and netizens mourned it on Weibo, China's Twitter-like service. Yutu experienced mechanical problems on Jan. 25 and has been unable to function since then," ECNS said.

China's space agency has not released any more details, but scientists consider the moon's abrasive dust a likely culprit to blame for the rover's failure, NewScientist.com reported.

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