China's First and Only Moon Rover, Yutu, is Officially Dead

Yutu "Jade Rabbit" lunar rover 7 photos
Photo: Japan Times
Photo made by Yutu on the MoonPhoto made by Yutu on the MoonPhoto made by Yutu on the MoonPhoto made by Yutu on the MoonPhoto made by Yutu on the MoonYutu "Jade Rabbit" model
Remember the cute little lunar rover that was unveiled in front of a stock photo that depicted Europe being obliterated by a nuclear explosion? Well, in the three or so years since then, the rover became even cuter, especially after it spoke to its 600,000+ fans on micro-blogging site Weibo about its adventures on Moon soil.
On July 31, though, the little lunar rover that could send its last ever transmission from the Earth's satellite, ending a 31-month stint that far outlived its three-month expected lifespan.

Officially called Yutu, which literally translates to “Jade Rabbit,” the rover has broken all sorts of records, making China the third country to reach the Moon's soil after Russia and the United States. Speaking of which, Russia's own Moon rover, called Lunokhod 1, only managed to “live” for a total of 11 months on the Moon's surface.

In July 2014, Yutu became motionless for about two weeks because of an extremely cold lunar night, although it had enough battery to continue communications with scientists back on Earth, giving them all kinds of data from the surface of the Moon.

This time it really is goodnight," Yutu's Weibo account posted this Sunday, according to the BBC. “There are still many questions I would like answers to, but I'm the rabbit that has seen the most stars,” sparking a wave of tearful responses from its fans on the social media site.

The Moon has prepared a long dream for me, I don't know what it will be like - will I be a Mars explorer, or be sent back to Earth?” the rover concluded.

Amidst other discoveries made by Yutu on the Moon, a never-before-seen type of lunar rock is under the spotlight, so all his travels on the Earth's satellite were not just to establish a Weibo account with a lot of followers.

China is said to return to the Moon in 2017 with an unmanned spacecraft that will try to return to Earth with soil samples, something that hasn't been attempted since the mid-1970s.
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About the author: Alex Oagana
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Alex handled his first real steering wheel at the age of five (on a field) and started practicing "Scandinavian Flicks" at 14 (on non-public gravel roads). Following his time at the University of Journalism, he landed his first real job at the local franchise of Top Gear magazine a few years before Mircea (Panait). Not long after, Alex entered the New Media realm with the project.
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