China revives moon rover, fault persists

Last updated 15:04, February 14 2014
GOING AND GOING: China's troubled moon rover has come back to life, but engineers are still working to fix its fault.

GOING AND GOING: China's troubled moon rover has come back to life, but engineers are still working to fix its fault.

China has restored communications with its space program's troubled "Jade Rabbit" moon rover, but engineers are still working to fix its mechanical problems, state media have reported.

The official Xinhua News Agency cited Pei Zhaoyu, the lunar probe program's spokesman, as saying the rover had survived the frigid cold of the lunar night that started January 25.

The "Jade Rabbit" rover was designed to roam the lunar surface for three months while surveying for natural resources and sending back data. But it ran into problems as it was shutting down in preparation for the lunar night, which lasts two weeks.

The problems were a rare setback for China's burgeoning space program, which in recent years has conducted space walks and placed a space station in orbit.

Pei said the rover had "come back to life" despite space experts' earlier concerns that it might not survive the extremely low temperatures of the lunar night, when the temperature drops to minus 180 degrees Celsius.

"The rover stands a chance of being saved now that it is still alive," Pei was quoted as saying. He said it was still unclear what caused the problem.

The mission has been a popular success for China's military-backed space program. Updates on the moon rover's progress have been posted on an unofficial Chinese microblog account written with the Jade Rabbit's voice, attracting tens of thousands of comments by Chinese Internet users.

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 - AP

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