Print 53 comment(s) - last by Argon18.. on Feb 24 at 12:41 PM

Extreme temperatures killed it

RIP lunar rover Yutu.
According to New Scientist, China's lunar rover Yutu -- also called Jade Rabbit -- was pronounced dead this week, ending its three-month mission to the moon earlier than expected. 
The cause of death was exposure to extreme temperatures, as a malfunction prevented Yutu from protecting its sensitive systems through the moon's daytime highs and nighttime lows. 
Yutu made its way to the moon December 14, 2013 when it hitched a ride from China's Chang'e-3 lander. Yutu successfully entered hibernation mode the first lunar night, where a mast folds down and a radioactive heat source protect delicate instruments. A solar panel is also angled towards the point where the sun will rise, which keeps up Yutu's power levels. 
It's important to note that a lunar night lasts for half of each Earthly month. Also, surface temperatures fluctuate from daytime highs of 90 °C to below -180 °C.
The second lunar night came January 25, and while the lander successfully went into hibernation, Yutu was unable to enter the sleep mode crucial for protecting itself from the dangerous temperatures.

Yutu [SOURCE: Universe Today]

All China could do was wait until the new lunar day, which began Monday. It's impossible to communicate with Yutu during a lunar night. 
As it turns out, Yutu couldn't handle the temperature fluctuations, and was declared dead this week. 
China's space agency believes lunar dust might've caused the malfunction, since the grains have sharp edges capable of interrupting Yutu's daily operations. 
Back in 2011, China released a paper that described China's five-year plan, which consisted of the construction of space stations, space laboratories, ship freighters and a manned spaceship. 
China said it planned to use probes to explore the moon's surface as well as asteroids, planets and the sun. A spacecraft will also be used to study black holes and celestial bodies close to Earth. Space debris will be studied as well in an effort to create systems that protect spacecraft from such debris.
The paper added that China hopes to improve launch vehicles, meteorological satellites, communications and broadcasting to form a global satellite navigation system.

Source: New Scientist

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RE: priorities
By Dorkyman on 2/12/2014 2:13:45 PM , Rating: 2
Those are your priorities, but theirs are most likely different. After all, they have an obvious surplus of humans, so perhaps to them scientific advance (and parity with the USA) is far more important than, say, lowering the rate of emphysema.

I'd wager that if they launched humans to the moon they would have far fewer safeguards in place than we did back in the 1960s.

RE: priorities
By Belegost on 2/12/2014 2:46:27 PM , Rating: 2
That would be great, if their pollution issues were just that - theirs.

It's not, it directly affects non-Chinese people. The pollution from china migrates eastward. It has been found as a significant amount of pollution in the western US(1), how much worse in closer areas like Japan and Korea. This is saying nothing of wider indirect effects on climate (which you may or may not agree with.)

So, it's not a situation that should be ignored because it's not just about their priorities.


RE: priorities
By Reclaimer77 on 2/12/14, Rating: 0
RE: priorities
By ipay on 2/12/2014 4:07:46 PM , Rating: 2
There is a serious difference: everyone knows better now.

RE: priorities
By Reclaimer77 on 2/12/2014 4:24:05 PM , Rating: 1
I don't know what you want me to say. Yes in a perfect world nobody would pollute and everything would be powered by unicorn farts.

But hey, life isn't an ideal situation.

China is already taking some small steps, but these things take time. What do you expect? Be realistic here.

RE: priorities
By atechfan on 2/13/2014 5:50:41 AM , Rating: 1
The technology is there today to pollute far less without significant cost increase, even if they insist on building tons of new coal plants. China doesn't even go that far. If you can't tell the difference between what we know about the environment now, vs what we knew in the industrial age, there is no point arguing with you, I guess. You can't fix stupid.

RE: priorities
By Reclaimer77 on 2/13/2014 1:58:17 PM , Rating: 1
Yes I know the difference! Duh?

And China knows the difference.

So now what? Still not seeing a solution from you, just being a condescending asshole.

You shouldn't call others stupid if you post worthless pedantic nonsense that doesn't address anything. Of course China could reduce pollution! Nobody said they couldn't. That's not the issue though, is it?

RE: priorities
By Argon18 on 2/24/2014 12:41:50 PM , Rating: 2
There is a serious difference: everyone knows better now.

China's domestic problems are for China to resolve and no one else.

RE: priorities
By Fujikoma on 2/12/2014 4:53:33 PM , Rating: 2
The Canadians were always bringing this sort of thing up in the 80's. Problem's been around for a while.

"And boy have we patented it!" -- Steve Jobs, Macworld 2007

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