China’s lunar rover Yutu, or “Jade Rabbit,” has been declared dead by China’s media; there has been no response to Earth since January 25.
Yutu was transported onto the moon by China’s Chang’e-3 lander on December 14, and both units entered hibernation mode. The problem is that the cold night on the moon lasts for half of an earth month, and during that time temperatures can drop to below -180 degrees Celsius.
On January 25, when the second lunar night began for Yutu, the lander hibernated but Yutu did not. On Earth, the mission communicators tried to contact the Chinese bunny, but to no avail. The ECNS news agency reported, “China’s first lunar rover, Yutu, could not be restored to full function on Monday as expected, and netizens mourned it on Weibo, China’s Twitter-like service. Yutu experienced mechanical problems on Jan 25 and has been unable to function since then.”