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Chinese Lunar Rover, Thought Lost, Comes Back to Life

RIA Novosti

11:54 13/02/2014

MOSCOW, February 13 (RIA Novosti) – China's maiden lunar rover, which had earlier been declared lost due to technical problems, has unexpectedly revived itself, the country's state media reported Thursday.

"It has come back to life! At least it is alive and so it is possible we could save it," Xinhua news agency quoted China's lunar program spokesman Pei Zhaoyu as saying.

Xinhua cited Zhaoyu as writing on Chinese microblogging website Sina Weibo that the Yutu rover, whose name translates as "Jade Rabbit," is able to pick up signals, but that it is still suffering from a mechanical control abnormality.

Chinese state media had reported that the space vehicle could not be restored to full functionality on Monday after awaking from an automatic shutdown for the two-week lunar night.

The 140-kilogram rover in December became the first probe in nearly four decades to make a soft landing on the moon.

It was meant to roam the lunar surface for three months while surveying natural resources, but an abnormality that appeared shortly before its shutdown at the end of January prompted worries that it would not survive the freezing cold of the lunar night.

The space vehicle's mission has been hailed as a major success of the ambitious Chinese space program, whose goals include creating a permanent space station by 2020 and sending manned flights to the moon and Mars.

An unverified Weibo user under the name "Jade Rabbit Lunar Rover," who has been posting first-person messages using the voice of the space car, marked its reawakening with the update: "Hi, anybody there?" on Thursday, sparking thousands of responses.

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