Chinese lunar rover comes back to life

Beijing, Feb 13: China’s moon rover Yutu is awake after its troubled dormancy but experts are still trying to find out the cause of its abnormality, a spokesman for the country’s lunar probe programme said Thursday.

“Yutu has come back to life,” Xinhua quoted spokesman Pei Zhaoyu as saying.

Pei said the moon rover, named after the pet of a lunar goddess in Chinese mythology, has now been restored to its normal signal reception function. But experts are still working to verify the cause of its mechanical control abnormality.

The problem emerged before Yutu entered its second dormancy on the moon Jan 25 as the lunar night fell.

“Yutu went to sleep under an abnormal status,” Pei said, adding that experts were concerned that it might not be able to survive the extremely low temperatures during the lunar night.

“The rover stands a chance of being saved now that it is still alive,” he said.

On Sina Weibo, the Chinese equivalent of Twitter, user ‘Yutu Lunar Rover’, which has followed the developments of the rover mission with a first-person account, posted its first update since the abnormality.

“Hi, anybody there?” it asked in a post, which immediately attracted tens of thousands of comments.

Many Chinese internet users said they were moved to hear that their “cute rabbit” had “come back to life”, with some even saying the rover was a “foodie” waking up for rice dumplings, a must-have delicacy for China’s Lantern Festival that falls Friday.

IANS