Jade Rabbit is still asleep on the surface of the moon. China’s robotic rover landed on the moon in December of 2013. The rover was originally known as Yutu until an online contest gave it the Jade Rabbit name.
The rover was on a three month exploratory mission. Half-way through the mission it had a major malfunction. It had broken down and the news agency that reported the breakdown gave the Jade Rabbit a voice.
Before shutting down for the lunar night, the rover stated that it should have gone to bed in the morning. However, because the controllers had discovered an abnormality with the mechanical controls, the rover was still up. It then reported that everyone was looking for a viable fix to the problem.
Then the news agency in China reported the rover was reviewing its own history. It talked about previous explorations. It reported about the danger and beauty of exploring space. It went fairly deep into the idea of existence. There was a haunting sentence that said it may not make it through a lunar night. Then, the Jade Rabbit decided it was time to shut down and said goodnight to earth and humanity.
The lunar night is comparable to 14 earth days. It shut down in order to protect systems onboard from the freezing temperatures. So far the status of the Jade Rover is not clear. All that is known is that it is still sleeping. The eerily haunting description before it shut down have the people of China wondering. They wonder if Jade Rabbit will once again awaken or if it had a premonition of what was ahead.
Fans had sent New Year’s Greetings to the Jade Rabbit. They also sent get well soon wishes. The Xinhua News Agency said that they had followed the entry in a diary that the rover had written before shutting down. The Jade Rabbit is now seen as a hero and adventurer. There is also a site in China that hosts a micro-blog for the Jade Rabbit. The site has received thousands of comments. Well wishers and those curious of updates on the rover have left comments.
The Jade Rabbit has collected a large amount of data and photographs while it was still working properly. As it was preparing to shut down, it ran into problems. It was designed to withstand and roam about the lunar surface. The temperatures on the moon drop during the lunar night to minus 180 degrees Celsius. This converts to a minus 292 degrees Fahrenheit.
The Xinhua News Agency also had reported that the Jade Rabbit has requested the people take care of and watch over the spacecraft that delivered it to the moon. The spacecraft is named Chang’e-3. The rover had asked for everyone to give her comfort if it does not wake up.
As far as the fate of the rover, anything could happen next. Will the Jade Rabbit rover wake up? If and when the rover does wake up, will it be fixed? The countdown to morning on the lunar surface has begun. It is being watched intensely. Fans of the rover, along with people worldwide, are now curious as to what the still sleeping Jade Rabbit will do. The weather should be getting warmer on the moon around the 9th of February. That is when Jade Rabbit might wake up.
by Saki Kahala