The journey is over for China's moon rover. China's state news agency is reporting today that the country's space agency has not been able to restore function to the Jade Rabbit rover, which suffered a mechanical malfunction late last month. The rover initially malfunctioned as it was preparing for the two-week lunar night, a period where it would be exposed to extreme cold temperatures and be unable to receive solar power. It likely failed to enter its hibernation mode, exposing critical components to environmental hazards for the past two weeks.
New Scientist reports that China's space agency would have been unable to communicate with its rover during the lunar night, meaning it wasn't able to attempt to reconnect with Jade Rabbit until Monday. China's moon lander, the Chang'e-3, appears to have successfully entered and exited hibernation, but the space agency's three-month-long mission will still be cut short without use of the rover. Chang'e-3 and Jade Rabbit, China's first lunar rover, initially landed on the moon on December 14th. The country's news agency did not say how — or if — the mission might proceed from here.
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