China's Moon Rover "Yutu" is Dead
February 12, 2014 1:40 PM
comment(s) - last by
Extreme temperatures killed it
RIP lunar rover
, 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 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.
added that China hopes to improve launch vehicles, meteorological satellites, communications and broadcasting to form a global satellite navigation system.
This article is over a month old, voting and posting comments is disabled
2/12/2014 3:25:39 PM
The risk of this failure is interesting and makes me wonder what NASA equipment does to avoid similar situations say with the Mars Rover.
RE: Interesting failure.
2/12/2014 4:05:30 PM
Mars has a 24 hour, 37 minute day meaning the long cold soak never happens. It also has an atmosphere which means the temperatures don't fluctuate nearly as much and makes it easier to mechanical parts lubricated. An atmosphere also means the dust grains are eroded into smoother shapes, more like regular sand or dust compared to moon dust which is extremely sharp edged and tends to cause all kinds of problems.
In other words, the Mars rovers avoid all of those problems be virtue of being on Mars. Not to say that mars doesn't present it's own challenges of course.
Less pedantically, when NASA spacecraft and rovers are put into extreme cold environments they typically rely on the heat of a slug of plutonium undergoing decay to keep them warm. It looks like they had issues with communication before the night hit so that they couldn't get the rover totally into sleep mode, which then caused the final failure.
RE: Interesting failure.
2/13/2014 5:04:07 AM
There is no moon dust on Mars. Moon dust is special because there is lack of weather effect on Moon. The dust is formed by radiation and small meteorite bombardment, which makes its edge sharp and prone to destroy all man-made equipment. Potential colonizations on Moon will need to address this very real problem as it has been found this dust can wear out anything man has built rather quickly.
"Intel is investing heavily (think gazillions of dollars and bazillions of engineering man hours) in resources to create an Intel host controllers spec in order to speed time to market of the USB 3.0 technology." -- Intel blogger Nick Knupffer
China's Moon Rover Lands Safe and Sound, Starts Snapping Pics
December 16, 2013, 1:22 PM
China's Lunar Rover Enters Orbit, Prepares for Historic Sat. Landing
December 13, 2013, 5:00 PM
China's Five-Year Space Plans Described in New Report
December 30, 2011, 11:40 AM
China's First Space Station Module Reaches Orbit
September 30, 2011, 1:02 PM
Creationists are Mad About Google Doodle Depicting Evolution
November 24, 2015, 8:48 PM
DHS and TSA: Whoops, We Missed That 73 Airport Employees May be Terrorists
November 19, 2015, 2:16 PM
Star Wars Spinoff Film "Rogue One", Theme Park Attractions Announced
August 17, 2015, 12:20 PM
SpaceX Falcon 9's Seventh Supply Mission to ISS Ends w/ Fiery Stage 1 Explosion
June 28, 2015, 1:10 PM
Cool Science Video: Glowing Millipede Prowls the Nevada Desert
May 18, 2015, 12:00 PM
Newly Discovered Costa Rican Glass Frog is Kermit's Doppelgänger
April 22, 2015, 11:26 AM
Most Popular Articles
Free Windows 10 offer ends July 29th, 2016: 10 Reasons to Upgrade Immediately
July 22, 2016, 9:19 PM
Smart Security Cameras: 5 Good Choices For Any Budget
July 25, 2016, 7:13 PM
Top 5 Smart Watches
July 21, 2016, 11:48 PM
2017 Porsche Panamera: I’ll Take Three of These.
July 24, 2016, 6:44 PM
Latest Blog Posts
Sceptre Airs 27", 120 Hz. 1080p Monitor/HDTV w/ 5 ms Response Time for $220
Dec 3, 2014, 10:32 PM
Costco Gives Employees Thanksgiving Off; Wal-Mart Leads "Black Thursday" Charge
Oct 29, 2014, 9:57 PM
"Bear Selfies" Fad Could Turn Deadly, Warn Nevada Wildlife Officials
Oct 28, 2014, 12:00 PM
The Surface Mini That Was Never Released Gets "Hands On" Treatment
Sep 26, 2014, 8:22 AM
ISIS Imposes Ban on Teaching Evolution in Iraq
Sep 17, 2014, 5:22 PM
More Blog Posts
Copyright 2016 DailyTech LLC. -
Terms, Conditions & Privacy Information