The Jade Rabbit is lost!

No this is not the plot for some 1920’s detective murder mystery book but the unfortunate circumstance that has befallen the Chinese lunar rover – the jade rabbit. It is usually very hard for anyone to get reliable news from China’s communist-run government but they are being surprisingly open and honest with their people and the globe about the jade rabbit’s problems.

This is something that the Chinese government should be applauded for as being open and honest, even when things are going wrong is what science is all about and we hope that this is a new trend for the superpower and a step in the right direction for co-operation with the rest of the world’s scientific & space programs.

The report from Xinhua, written as if it sent by the rover itself, said the problems could prove insoluble.” Masters are working round the clock. In spite of that, I know I might not be able to make it through this lunar night,” the “report” from Jade Rabbit said.” If this journey is to be suspended ahead of schedule, I am not fearful. No matter whether I can be fixed or not, I believe I have left masters much valuable information and experience.”

A specialist from the German aerospace company, Lutz Richter, has speculated that the solar panels on the rover might have failed, damaging equipment.

Whether the troubled rover is able to be fixed or not we should all be congratulating the Chinese government for their achievement as building, launching and landing a probe on the moon is no small feat.

Jade Rabbit Job

Jade Rabbit was originally scheduled to carry out geological surveys and astronomical observations for three months after it landed on the moon on December 14. The Xinhua report on the rover said it had travelled over 100 meters and had completed most of its tasks.

Jiao Weixin, from the China Society of Space Research’s space probe committee, said “Scientists have little time as it’s already night on the moon. If the Jade Rabbit can’t continue working it will have a serious negative impact on this project as most research machinery is installed on the rover.”

There has also been an amazing outpour of support from the Chinese population on China’s version of Twitter, Weibo. Thousands have left their support on the troubled rovers Weibo account and the rover is reassuring the public with comments like this, “I am not that sad. Like all the heroes in other stories, I have just encountered some problems in my adventure”. The rover also noted that over half of the world’s previous 130 lunar missions have had problems too.

All our hopes are with the Chinese scientists as they work tirelessly to remotely repair the rover and even if it can’t be repaired we hope it can still serve as a reminder that the human race is capable of fantastic things, no matter where you are from.

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