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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By Ammohunt on 2/12/2014 2:10:44 PM , Rating: 5
Lasted about as long as tools bought at Harbor Freight. The brightside is i am sure they got a free headlamp with the purchase.

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.)

RE: Expected
By Reclaimer77 on 2/12/2014 3:11:31 PM , Rating: 2
You've had Harbor Freight tools last three months!? Damn, lucky :P

RE: Expected
By Manch on 2/12/2014 5:06:49 PM , Rating: 2
There's only two ways this could have happened. He bought the tools and didnt use them for three months or the more unlikely scenario he got lucky using them once and didnt need them for three months.

RE: Expected
By mg7marine on 2/12/2014 3:46:30 PM , Rating: 2
I have Harbor Freight tools that have lasted me for years... Whereas the Craftsman ones I bought... have broken in days.

RE: Expected
By ipay on 2/12/2014 4:05:46 PM , Rating: 1
Days is a subset of years. Both have broken in days... only a matter of amount.

RE: Expected
By Manch on 2/12/2014 5:01:20 PM , Rating: 2
Is it because they are crappy so you leave them in the drawer never to be used again and go to your trusty Craftsman tools instead?

I bet you're nodding your head in agreement right now lololol

Ill go to harbor freight for something i need to use just once and not worth investing money into, or for my set aside tool box for people that want to borrow my tools.(They dont know the diff)

My craftsman, Husky, MAC, SNAP ONs, etc, they will never touch. If you cant look at a bolt and ball park the size wrench I need, or referr to everything as a thingamajiggy you're not worthy :D

RE: Expected
By mg7marine on 2/12/2014 5:14:27 PM , Rating: 2
I rebuild engines, etc., and have had no problems with the Pittsburgh ratchets, wrenches, or torque wrenches. You can also look at the article from Carcraft magazine here...

I have some "old" Craftsman tools... but the new ones just don't cut it.

RE: Expected
By Manch on 2/12/2014 5:41:57 PM , Rating: 2
Dude, I was just yanking your chain a bit. I work on cars and motorcycles as well. Last build was my own. My torque wrenches are Armstrongs. Good wrenches.

For light duty Im sure your HF tools are fine. Im sure they are better at putting together IKEA furniture than the stamped wrench they put in the box but for anything else nope, I wont trust them.

All tools will bend out or break. I think I've managed to break a tool from damn near every single brand I've owned throughout. Nice thing bout snap on and MAC is they will deliver you replacements. Sears, yeah you have to run down to the store. Also I find a lot of HF wrenches to be lacking in accuracy. They dont always fit proper and a rounded out bolt or nut is not somthing i enjoy dealing with. It's a quality issue for me. I'd rather pay to ensure im buying something decent that save a few bucks just to regret it later.

I agree taht the old craftsmn wrenches seem to hold out better than the newer ones. Dunno why. If you want those for cheap, estate sales in the country. Get there early and bring cash!

If you like your HF tools tho, cool bro.

RE: Expected
By Argon18 on 2/24/2014 12:17:05 PM , Rating: 2
"I agree taht the old craftsmn wrenches seem to hold out better than the newer ones. Dunno why."

I know exactly why. It's called bean-counters. Some bean-counter ran the numbers and found that it was more cost-effective to lower the tool quality (i.e. cheaper metallurgy, lower pressure forgings, etc) and deal with the higher broken-replacement rate. The bean counter is right. People who buy Crapsman tools are usually happy homeowner types who do not stress the tool and will never break one. Real mechanics who use tools for a living avoid the new Crapsman like the plague, the quality is far too poor.

RE: Expected
By WeslyC on 2/15/2014 1:05:07 AM , Rating: 2
I've own both and no doubt, Craftsman tools are much better quality. Anyway, space programs are risky business that why I kinda feel nervous for the crew of China future man mission, so far China did an excellent job to land a rover on the moon even those it life was short.

RE: Expected
By mg7marine on 2/12/2014 3:47:47 PM , Rating: 2
I have Harbor Freight tools that have lasted me for years... Whereas the some of the Craftsman ones I bought... have broken in days.

RE: Expected
By HomerTNachoCheese on 2/14/2014 3:44:19 PM , Rating: 2
I heard you the first time!

RE: Expected
By chick0n on 2/13/14, Rating: 0
RE: Expected
By wordsworm on 2/14/2014 10:17:10 AM , Rating: 2
And yet they are doing what the US cannot.

RE: Expected
By drycrust3 on 2/14/2014 12:11:21 PM , Rating: 2
Exactly. Regardless of whether Yutu is now fully functional or not, the plain fact is it is the most advanced robot on the moon. Whether it does or doesn't live out its three months of intended life isn't really the point, the point is it got there, it landed, and it worked, and that proves China's technology is amongst the best in the world.
With the moon having such a harsh environment, then it could well be the safest way of exploring the moon is with robots. As we saw with Apollo 13, if something does go wrong way out there, there is little hope of a rescue mission getting there to help. At least when a robot that dies, we don't feel the need to hold a funeral.

RE: Expected
By HomerTNachoCheese on 2/14/2014 3:51:14 PM , Rating: 2
Exactly. I cannot wait for the day when we first set foot on the moon. </sarc>

If we wanted to go to the moon again, we would, and we could. At this time, we are choosing not to spend the money for that capability. If we wanted to, we could send a spacecraft to the moon, repair Yutu, and come back. But why bother? We have bigger ambitions now.

RE: Expected
By WeslyC on 2/15/2014 12:55:47 AM , Rating: 2
What about U.S Mars rover Opportunity landed on January 25, 2004 and still operates as of Feb 2014?

RE: Expected
By wordsworm on 2/15/2014 8:59:55 PM , Rating: 2
True enough. I guess I don't like all the American hate on China all the time. China's program is going ahead very well. I think what it's been doing in the last 2-3 years has excited the extraterrestrial part of my brain. I'm still holding my breath to see them put one of their Emdrive engines to use in a satellite. Generate thrust with solar power or with the heat from the sun... which would be the most exciting thing ever to happen in space exploration. Solar energy, in space, is a lot more intense than it is here on earth.

Anyways.. back to holding my breath...

RE: Expected
By Argon18 on 2/24/2014 12:22:35 PM , Rating: 2
"And yet they are doing what the US cannot. "
No, not quite. The only reason the Chinese can do something like this is /because/ of the US. Where do you think the Chinese government got the $Billions required for such a program? You guess it, the USA. Every time you go to Wall-Mart and fill your cart with cheap Made in China crap, you are funding the Chinese government. Sometimes the Chinese government does something interesting, like put a robot on the moon.

But do not ever forget that China is a nuclear-capable Communist superpower with a military four times the size of America's. China is a fair weather friend, at best. As soon as the firehose of $$$ we're pumping into them dries up, the happy times are over.

By superstition on 2/12/2014 2:02:01 PM , Rating: 1
I'm all for scientific progress, but the Chinese need to massively clean up their air before spending another cent on a space program. Google Shanghai air if you want to. Shanghai is hardly alone, too.

And, after that, institute some regulation to deal with the rivers of garbage and the plethora of examples of toxins in food.

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.

RE: priorities
By Reclaimer77 on 2/12/14, Rating: -1
RE: priorities
By atechfan on 2/13/2014 9:26:09 AM , Rating: 2
Economic growth won't do them much good when they are dying from poisoning their air and water. Air in Beijing is nearly unbreathable at times, forcing everyone to stay inside. Rice is full of lead and other heavy metals from spill-off from factories. The effects of this will exist long after production moves to a new cheap labour third world nation.

RE: priorities
By superstition on 2/13/2014 1:44:30 PM , Rating: 2
Beijing's air quality is 8th on the list of worst in Chinese large cities, too.

Interesting failure.
By mike8675309 on 2/12/2014 3:25:39 PM , Rating: 2
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.
By MozeeToby on 2/12/2014 4:05:30 PM , Rating: 2
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.
By w8gaming on 2/13/2014 5:04:07 AM , Rating: 2
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.

At least they are working on it
By BifurcatedBoat on 2/12/2014 7:34:30 PM , Rating: 2
We basically gave up decades ago. The long term net effect is that they will end up ahead in everything space-related.

By delphinus100 on 2/12/2014 9:47:10 PM , Rating: 2
So, recent US orbiting and Lunar impact probes (never mind what we're doing at Mars) are...chopped liver?

Breaking news!
By freeagle on 2/13/2014 6:37:53 AM , Rating: 2
RE: Breaking news!
By w8gaming on 2/13/2014 6:55:05 AM , Rating: 2
It has encountered the AllSpark on Moon and the transformers have reprogram it. Joke. :)

3 Months. Thats rough.
By MrRuckus on 2/12/2014 2:00:44 PM , Rating: 2
He's dead Jim..

Portent of Doom
By villageidiotintern on 2/12/2014 3:04:47 PM , Rating: 2
This does not bode well for my ??? tablet.

what did you expect?
By GulWestfale on 2/12/2014 3:05:43 PM , Rating: 2
it's made in china.

all kidding aide, it's still an achievement to have sent something up there, and they will surely have learned a few things they can use in the next rover/mission.

Cause found...
By hrrmph on 2/12/2014 3:29:29 PM , Rating: 2
It was running Windows 8 and got stuck in the Metro version of the enviro-control app.

I'm wondering...
By L1011 on 2/12/2014 5:43:42 PM , Rating: 2
I'm wondering if the Chinese rover found a good spot to leave some menus before it perished.

Credit goes to SNL for that joke!)

Hi, Anyone there?
By drycrust3 on 2/13/2014 10:36:51 AM , Rating: 2
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.

According to Xinhua, one of the major Chinese agencies, Yutu did wake up.
Supposedly there was a "tweet" from Yutu saying "Hi, Anyone there" on Sina Weibo.
Here is a CNN report saying a similar thing.

Walmart Return Policy
By Spookster on 2/13/2014 1:50:36 PM , Rating: 2
Have they exceeded the amount of time on Walmarts return policy yet?

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