Google+ SpaceTravelFoundation: 2014-01-26

January 29, 2014

Chinese moon rover Yutu has a mechanical control anomaly

Dear followers,

few days ago, we propose you an amazing work performed thanks to pictures taken by the Chinese moon rover, called Yutu or Change's 3. However, last weekend, an "abnormality occurred due to complicated lunar surface environment," announced the the State Administration of Science, Technology and Industry for National Defence (SASTIND) from China. 
The abnormality emerged before the rover entered its second dormancy at dawn on Saturday as the lunar night fell, according to SASTIND. The equipment failure may block the solar panel. If the panels cannot be closed, the rover will almost certainly freeze during the two week span. As said, the moon environment is really critical. Actually, one night on the Moon is about 14 days on Earth, during which the temperature falls below minus 180 Celsius. During the lunar night, there is no sunlight to provide power to Yutu's solar panel.

 Credit: CNSA/CCTV

The Chang'e-3 lunar probe soft-landed on the Moon on December 14th after couple days in lunar orbit. The rover separated from the lander hours later.
The success of the Chang'e-3 mission makes China the third country to soft-land a spacecraft on lunar soil after the United States and the former Soviet Union. During this mission, China collaborates with ESA, the +European Space Agency, ESA for the communication part.