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China's moon rover working despite mechanical problems


The Yutu rover rolls onto the Moon. Photo: Chinese National Space Administration/ Xinhuanet

BEIJING (PTI): China's moon rover, which had been presumed dead after encountering mechanical problems on the lunar surface, has woken up yet again from its dormancy and begun carrying out its exploration tasks despite the defects.

Named after 'Yutu', a Chinese name for the Jade Rabbit, the rover woke up again Friday morning after its third dormancy but its mechanical control problems have not been resolved, China's State Administration of Science, Technology and Industry for National Defence (SASTIND) said.

The Yutu and the lunar probe Chang'e-3, which woke up on Wednesday, are carrying out effective exploration tasks as scheduled, SASTIND said.

Last month, the rover "woke up" after it was declared dead by space scientists and later went into its third 14-day spell of dormancy.

Its mechanical control issues which crippled the vehicle were still unresolved, the scientists said last month.

The Yutu's radar, panorama camera and infrared imaging equipment are functioning normally, but the control issues that have troubled the rover since January persist, official media reports said last month.

During the lunar night, there is no sunlight to power Yutu's solar panels.

In this period, the rover is expected to stay in a power-off mode and communication with Earth is cut.

The Yutu touched down on the moon's surface on December 15, some hours after lunar probe Chang'e-3 landed.

The rover was designed to roam the lunar surface for at least three months to survey the moon's geological structure and surface substances and look for natural resources.

China is the world's third country to soft-land a rover on the moon after the US and the erstwhile Soviet Union.

Chang'e-3 is part of the second phase of China's lunar programme, which includes orbiting, landing and returning to Earth.

China has also sent probes to orbit the moon in 2007 and 2010, the first of which crashed onto the lunar surface at the end of its mission.

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China  Moon  Rover  Spacecraft  

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