The Chinese Moon Rover that is designed to explore the surface of the moon has been declared dead wrapping up a record-setting mission that lasted for 31 months. The event was announced by the SASTIND (State Administration for Science, Technology, and Industry for National Defense) stating that the Yutu Rover has already stopped operating. Experts believe that this move is a way to boost the prestige and the economy of the country.
The Mission of the Yutu Rover
Jade rabbit that is attached on the Chang’e 3 that went into a 2-week space adventure in going to the moon on the 1st of December, 2013. It managed to have a powered landing on the surface of the Mare Imbrium last 14th of December wherein the Yutu Rover weighing at 120kg was dispatched on the lunar surface hours after it made a safe landing. The Chang’e 3 is one of the very first aircraft to have a soft landing.
After the initial arrival in the lunar surface, the Rover immediately started its exploration that is intended to last for about 3 months; on the other hand, the Chang’e 3 was designed to resist the environment of the moon for at least one year. It is armed with an Ultraviolet Telescope that has the ability to study the sky while it is in the surface of the moon and a UV Camera that has the capacity to analyze the Plasmasphere of the Earth.
The Journey of the Yutu Rover
The rover is being controlled by the mission team that is based in China. It was able to cover a total of 100 meters of the surface of the moon. During its journey, it managed to study various rock formations by using suitable equipment such as the built-in robotic arm, imaging spectrometer, radar that can penetrate the ground and panoramic camera.
The environment on the surface of the moon is one of the challenges that the Yutu Rover needs to withstand. The extreme level of coldness during nighttime and an increased amount of temperature during the day is definitely a tough battle to endure. In fact, it was feared that the Rover has already reached its demise during the second day due to the system breakdown which affects the mobility of the craft. It also affected the movement of the solar panels and the camera. Fortunately, last February, the rays of the sun hit the solar panels of the rover which charged its batteries.
Despite of the problem in the mobility of the rover, the communication terminal and the core system of the rover continue functioning during 2014-2015. This feat made it the longest functioning rover that is released on the surface of the moon. The signals can still be received by the operators that are based on Earth. After the pronouncement of the death of the Yutu Rover, the Chang’e 3 is still working optimally. This has lead to the production of new information such as lava flow, new basalt, and the composition of the moon’s exosphere.
Further venture of China in the moon will continue in the year 2018 where they plan to release three lunar missions which will further showcase the economy and prestige of China.