China's Lunar Rover 'Jade Rabbit' Dies, Lasts Longer Than Three Months
The Jade Rabbit has officially stopped operations on the moon. China's lunar rover called Yutu has retired for good after 31-months on the moon. The news of Yutu's demise was broadcast on Chinese social media.
China's Administration of Science, Technology and Industry for National Defense had confirmed in a report by Xinhua News that Yutu has indeed stopped its operations on the moon. The rover lasted 31 months on the lunar surface, which was a record given that the rover was designed to last only three months. The Jade Rabbit now holds the record for being the longest-operating rover on the moon.
"This time it really is goodnight. There are still many questions I would like answers too, but I'm the rabbit that has seen the most stars!" stated the rover in a post on China's social media. "The moon says it has prepared a long, long dream for me."
Yutu was launched back in 2013 as part of China's Chang'e 3 lunar mission. It is notably one of the country's successful attempts of sending a rover to the moon's surface. In addition, it is China's first soft landing on the lunar surface since 1976, which is a record the country is proud of.
Despite the end of Yutu, China is prepping up for its next mission to the moon with Chang'e 5. This rover is set to land on the lunar surface by the year 2017, and will be taking samples from the moon's surface to bring back to earth.
Another lunar mission is also set for 2018 with the Chang'e 4. Named after the moon goddess of Chinese mythology, Chang'e 4 probe is set for launch along with a lander rover to explore the far side of the moon, which is the side that has never been explored and has never faced the earth.