Jade Rabbit Moon Rover Wakes Up

Jade Rabbit Moon Rover Wakes Up

Jade Rabbit

China's Jade Rabbit moon rover is awake and talking, but it's not out of the woods just yet.

China's moon rover suffered a rather famous mechanical failure in January, just over a month after its December 14 landing. The failure of the probe, named Yutu - Jade Rabbit in English - in and of itself wasn't what attracted the attention, however, but rather a first-person account of the breakdown on Sina Weibo, the Chinese equivalent of Twitter, which ended with, "I'll tell everyone a little secret. I'm actually not that sad. I'm just in my own adventure story, and like any protagonist, I encountered a bit of a problem. Goodnight, Earth. Goodnight, humans."

Jade Rabbit wasn't expected to survive the two-week-long lunar night that followed because of a solar panel that failed to retract, leaving it exposed to extreme cold, and Chinese news site ECNS did in fact report yesterday that the probe was lost. Today, however, a spokesman for China's lunar program said that contact had been restored and that it was now "fully awake."

"Jade Rabbit has fully resurrected and is able to receive signals, but still suffers a mechanical control abnormality," Pei Zhaoyu told Xinhua. "The rover entered hibernation while in an abnormal state. We were worried it wouldn't be able to make it through the extreme cold of the lunar night. But it came back alive. The rover stands a chance of being saved as it is still alive."

The China Space Facebook page confirmed that the rover is suffering from the same technical problem that plagued it before the hibernation and said mission control is working on trying to get it fixed, but also sought to temper expectations. "Even though there are positive signs, don't get your hopes too high though," the agency wrote. "Yutu is not going to be as functional as before. The real end may not be far."

Be that as it may, it's great to see that the mission isn't over yet. And right on schedule, the Jade Rabbit Weibo account came back to life, too. "Hi, anybody there?" it said in its first message since going into dormancy. Within minutes, thousands of people had replied.

Sources: CNN, Channel NewsAsia

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Well that's a cute little story.

Reminds of the little engine that could. Let's just hope it doesn't end in tragedy.

Glad to hear, I hope their able to finish their mission without too many issues. It's not the first probe to have issues and wont be the last :-)

Captcha: Cold Feet
I think the probe's trying to say something....

"Hi, anybody there?"

Adorable. Ok, who else out there now thinks that if that probe had a voice it would sound like the Portal turrets?

Dark Knifer:
Let's just hope it doesn't end in tragedy.

Considering that thing will eventually break down alone in a dark and cold wasteland, which will also be the only thing it ever knows...

It's probably good that it isn't sentient in any way.

Captcha: Most likely

Poor space bunny, all alone up there on the moon without anyone to interact with except rocks and dust and maybe Neil Armstrong's footprints. Not even a moon carrot to eat. *sniff*
OT: Such is the hardest part of sending unmanned probes to space, if they break you hope to [insert deity or science here] it can fix itself.

Given China's record on engineering, the reason their rover has yet to collapse, burst into flames, or sink is that the moon has ~1/6 earth's gravity, lacks a combustible atmosphere, and has no liquid water.

Chimpzy:
Adorable. Ok, who else out there now thinks that if that probe had a voice it would sound like the Portal turrets?

That's exactly the voice I hear in my head when I read those messages.

After the Daily Show bit from a while back I can't hear those messages in any voice other than Patrick Stewart's.

Vivi22:
After the Daily Show bit from a while back I can't hear those messages in any voice other than Patrick Stewart's.

I wonder if they'll bring him back to be a zombie.

Chimpzy:

"Hi, anybody there?"

Adorable. Ok, who else out there now thinks that if that probe had a voice it would sound like the Portal turrets?

I heard it in the voice of Patrick Stewart.

Naqel:

Dark Knifer:
Let's just hope it doesn't end in tragedy.

Considering that thing will eventually break down alone in a dark and cold wasteland, which will also be the only thing it ever knows...

It's probably good that it isn't sentient in any way.

Captcha: Most likely

Well, it could try to reach one of soviet Lunahods, then it could at least die in some company

ryukage_sama:
Given China's record on engineering, the reason their rover has yet to collapse, burst into flames, or sink is that the moon has ~1/6 earth's gravity, lacks a combustible atmosphere, and has no liquid water.

Perhaps you'd care to elaborate on their other notable engineering failures. Because otherwise, your comment just sounds spiteful and ignorant.

Well there was that damn that failed and killed over 170,000 people.

NoPants2win:
Well there was that damn that failed and killed over 170,000 people.

Yes, never has a damn been responsible for so many deaths.

Chinese swearing.

Serious shit.

Avaholic03:

ryukage_sama:
Given China's record on engineering, the reason their rover has yet to collapse, burst into flames, or sink is that the moon has ~1/6 earth's gravity, lacks a combustible atmosphere, and has no liquid water.

Perhaps you'd care to elaborate on their other notable engineering failures. Because otherwise, your comment just sounds spiteful and ignorant.

Just to play Devil's advocate and answer you, A rather disturbingly high number of Chinese Civil Engineering projects that seen to cut corners on certain things, like concrete, cement and reinforcing steel. Leading to things like school or apartment building collapses. And lets not bring up the whole subject of quality inspection as it relates to food, childrens toys, infant formula or even dog food. (Hey them kids need more Vitamin A. A is for Antifreeze!)

And honestly having worked for a Chinese owned electronics manufacturer for many many years, and regularly interacted with the enginnering staff in TaiPei and Hong Kong, Chinese Engineering has a core social flaw. Communications. It is very much a societal thing, and one which the current mainland government encourages, but it hobbles their Engineering fields. In short information does not flow freely between individuals. Both positive and negative. A Chinese Engineer will never ever give forth information unless clearly and specifically asked a direct question regarding it (and often even then may require numerous threats of grievous bodily harm from his American colleague before he starts to grasp the idea that some information everybody needs to know NOW!). Flaws will not be discovered unless somebody sits every engineer down and asks each one individually "are their any problems with component X? Are their any problems with component Y?" etc add nauseum. The running gag in inteligence services is that Chinese spies have the easiest job in the world. All they need do is go to America and quietly sit and listen. American Engineers talk constantly and seek open and honest feedback. It is one of those weird subtle offsprings of Jefferson's First Amendment. Speech and Information is not a Zero Sum game. The more it spreads the more it grows. Whereas in China Information IS Zero Sum. Information is currency. What you know is your value. And the more others know the same the less individual value you posses to further yourself. And yes much of it is also created by and hobbled by a culture of extreme politeness. One that strives to not cause offense. America's more frontier traditions of calling out stupidity and speaking as they see it, has served the technical industries well in creating a culture of constant casual back checking and blameless error correction.

is it applicable to Jade Rabbit? Who knows? I would like to think that that is one of China's most carefully engineered projects. One that if anything stepped outside the cultural norms in order to insure success. And that the probe is simply suffering from a not unexpected mechanical failure as a result of its harsh environment. It got there, it landed safely and it did the primary job it set out to do. A superb achievement for a freshman effort and one of the most difficult tasks in human history. That's not something that needs a lot of second guessing by internet trolls.

... I'm getting WALL-E vibes from this story.

faefrost:

is it applicable to Jade Rabbit? Who knows? I would like to think that that is one of China's most carefully engineered projects. One that if anything stepped outside the cultural norms in order to insure success. And that the probe is simply suffering from a not unexpected mechanical failure as a result of its harsh environment. It got there, it landed safely and it did the primary job it set out to do. A superb achievement for a freshman effort and one of the most difficult tasks in human history. That's not something that needs a lot of second guessing by internet trolls.

What you say is true, it is a great acheivement.
Actually, compared to other nations first forays into space flight. China is doing remarkably well.

Alot of early Soviet and US space missions look like something out of Kerbal Space Program. I haven't heard of any thing comparable happening in china, and you can bet people were watching closely.
At very least they haven't locked 3 astronauts in a capsule and accidentally set it on fire.

Fact is the first time you do stuff, you tend to screw up a bit.
Since nobody died. Go China!

Maybe once you put some astronauts on the moon those Apollo conspiracy theorist will finally shut the hell up.

EDIT
I completely forgot about Intelsat 708
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Intelsat_708

It malfunctioned and crashed into a nearby village killing an undisclosed number of people.
Still puts the chinese space program roughly around average though.

 

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