Concerned technicians work on an ailing Yutu Moon rover.
Philip Stooke, an associate professor in physics and astronomy at the University of Western Ontario in London, Ontario, Canada has a take on the rover’s problem.
Yutu’s camera mast, also carrying the hi…gh gain antenna, is supposed to fold down into a box on the rover body, and then be covered by one of the panels. That enclosed space is kept warm by a radioactive heat source. The second solar panel is tilted down and oriented to catch the rays of the rising sun. Stooke said that it appears that the first panel would not close. The expectation is that the cameras will be damaged by the cold and maybe other things too.
Stooke said that there’s a chance the rover will be okay, perhaps, and a chance it will live, but be very limited in what it can do, and a chance it will die altogether. There isn’t enough information to gauge those chances.
Overall, Stooke said that his impression is that the situation is not good.
According to the Xinhua news agency, tens of thousands of Chinese “netizens” have posted their blessings to Yutu after it wound up in trouble, such as: “Come on little rabbit, you must hang on in there to see the Spring Festival fireworks.”
Also, check out my new SPACE.com story: China Moon Rover Hits Snag in Big Lunar Science Mission
By Leonard David

6 Responses to “Update: China’s Troubled Moon Rover”

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