China’s lunar rover fails to connect with controllers (updated)

China's lunar rover, Yutu, was has failed to reawaken after 14 days of hibernation.


Yutu, China’s first lunar rover, is dead.

Mission controllers in Beijing were unable to communicate with and restore the rover, also called Jade Rabbit, according to a Chinadaily report released February 12. A problem with the rover was first announced on January 25.

Chang’e 3, the lunar lander that carried Yutu to the moon, is apparently still in contact with mission control. The spacecraft, including the lander and the rover, made history on December 14 when it helped China become the first country to put a lander on the moon since 1976 and the third country, after the United States and the former Soviet Union, to ever perform the feat.

Editor’s note, 7:00 p.m.: New reports suggest that Yutu may still have the ability to transmit a signal. The operational status of the rover remains unclear. We are watching for additional information and will continue to provide updates here.

11:05 p.m.: Xinhua news agency reports that normal signal reception has been restored on Yutu. Mission controllers are now assessing whether the rover can operate fully.

photo of Ashley Yeager

Ashley Yeager is the associate news editor at Science News. She has worked at The Scientist, the Simons Foundation, Duke University and the W.M. Keck Observatory, and was the web producer for Science News from 2013 to 2015. She has a bachelor’s degree in journalism from the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, and a master’s degree in science writing from MIT.

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