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: Expected
By gookpwr on 2/12/2014 2:24:29 PM , Rating: 4
It's because its a piece of made in China CRAP!!!

But seriously, I do hope they are more successful in the near future. I was actually pretty excited for them to get this going and to share what they find with other countries.

My hopes are we start launching long distance manned missions from the moon....

RE: Expected
By M'n'M on 2/12/2014 2:40:40 PM , Rating: 2
I told them the melamine would freeze. OK for toothpaste and baby food, but not in spacecraft !

RE: Expected
By Cypherdude1 on 2/13/2014 1:21:59 AM , Rating: 2
Lasted about as long as tools bought at Harbor Freight. The brightside is i am sure they got a free headlamp with the purchase.
LOL. Buy Sears Craftsman socket sets instead. They cost more but they last forever.
It's because its a piece of made in China CRAP!!!
LOL. I was going to post something to the same effect but I guess it's not necessary.

RE: Expected
By Argon18 on 2/24/2014 12:12:38 PM , Rating: 2
"LOL. Buy Sears Craftsman socket sets instead. They cost more but they last forever."

Craftsman? aka Crapsman? Lol. Judging by the number of Craftsman sockets and ratchets I've broken over the years, I can attest that they certainly do not "last for ever". Craftsman is about the lowest quality tool on the market that I'm willing to buy.

Higher end tools that really do last forever come from Mac, Williams, Snap-On, Matco, Stahlwille, Heyco, SK, and Hazet. These are top-end quality tools.

RE: Expected
By Arkive on 2/12/2014 3:22:17 PM , Rating: 2
This is kind of funny considering that you probably posted this comment from something that was made in China (statistically speaking).

RE: Expected
By delphinus100 on 2/12/2014 9:44:44 PM , Rating: 3
My hopes are we start launching long distance manned missions from the moon....

From the Moon? Why would you leave one gravity well (deep, but fuel resources are plentiful and cheap down here), to descend into another (the Moon), to climb out of it again to go to to a third? (presumably Mars)

Deep spaceship assembly and preparation are what Low Earth Orbit and/or the L2 Lagrange point are for...

(An argument can be made for sending Lunar derived hydrogen [if the ice there is actually plentiful enough] and oxygen [which could also come from that water, or derived in virtually infinite quantities from the regolith] for chemical propulsion, nuclear rocket reaction mass [hydrogen] and life support, but you don't try to manufacture or even just assemble spaceships down there.)

"My sex life is pretty good" -- Steve Jobs' random musings during the 2010 D8 conference

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