China’s Yutu Moon Rover Sleeps Until January.

yutu

Chang’e 3’s YuTu rover, on the moon’s surface in this picture taken from the landing platform
Credit: SASTIND/CNSA/Xinhua

The Jade Rabbit rover is now taking a nap and trying to stay warm during the two week lunar night. It will use it’s plutonium powered electrical supply to supply heat to keep sensitive equipment warm during the bitter cold lunar night. Since landing on the moon Dec. 14 2013, the rover safely drove off its landing platform, activated on-board scientific instrumentation, and tested the robotic arm. As part of a post landing check it drove around the lander so the two spacecraft inspected each other. Yutu will wake up about January 12th.

Read: WOW, AWESOME Video of China Lunar Landing!

This was the first soft landing on the moon by China who now joins the U.S. and former Russia in executing this task.

Yutu Driving

picture of Yutu as it drove around and inspected the lander.
Credit: SASTIND/CNSA/Xinhua

“Ten pictures have been taken at five spots so far, and all of them are better than we expected,” said chief designer of the China lunar probe program Wu Weiren, “The rover has moved in a semicircle around the lander. Afterwards, they will begin to conduct scientific explorations of the geography and geomorphology of the landing spot and nearby areas, and materials like minerals and elements there. We will also explore areas 30 meters and 100 meters beneath the lunar soil using ground-penetrating radar.”

The Yutu rover is now about 40 meters, or 131 feet from the lander and will remain there during the short hibernation.

China Lander taken from Yutu Rover Credit: SASTIND/CNSA/Cnr.cn

China Lander taken from Yutu Rover
Credit: SASTIND/CNSA/Cnr.cn

“The exploration will continue longer than we planed, because all the instruments and equipment are working very well,” Wu said in a story on CCTV’s website. The mission is scheduled to last about one year.

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Recipient of many prestigious NASA Awards including the Exceptional Public Service Medal and the Robert H. Goddard award. Experience includes working for NASA, as a contractor, in satellite design, construction and operations. Expert in the satellite operations concepts and ground systems including command, control, and science data processing.