The Jade Rabbit lunar rover retired after 31 months spent in space. The spacecraft reached the Moon on the 14th of December 2013. At landing, the Jade Rabbit encountered a sudden shutdown. However, the device managed to regain its functions and worked perfectly ever since.
The mission supposed to last only three months, but it had been prolonged for multiple times. The end came on the 28th of July when the Jade Rabbit stopped its operations.
“The Moon says it has prepared a long, long dream for me, and I’m wondering what the dream would be like – would I be a Mars explorer, or be sent back to Earth?”, said the message posted on Twitter announcing the retirement of the Jade Rabbit rover.
The rover spent 972 days out in space, which is considered to be a success for the China’s space industry.
The rover was equipped with telescopes, radars, and cameras that meant to collect as many information as possible on the evolution of the Moon.
The next step for China would be to land a spaceship on the Moon which will collect samples and bring them back on Earth. Only Russia and the United States had been able to do so. Thus China’s plans are enforcing its place in the world as space explorers.
In 2018, China will land the Chang’e-4 probe on the dark side of the Moon.
The name of the space probe was chosen in an online contest with millions of participants. The winner was Jade Rabbit, which is the pet of the Moon goddess in Chinese mythology.
The rover sent photographs of the surface of the Moon and became very popular among the Chinese citizens, which still do not want to believe that the “Yuku” is not out of function.
To their defense, the rover announced several times before that it was dead. In February 2014, a tough lunar night made the machine stop communications to Earth. It later showed signs of life but lost the capacity to move. However, he continued to record and transmit information to the Earth.
In October 2015, Jade Rabbit became the rover with the longest mission on the Moon, surpassing a similar mission of the Soviet Union’s Lunokhod 1 who spent only 322 days on Earth’s natural satellite.
Image Source: Wikipedia