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China's Jade Rabbit lunar rover, or Chang'e 3 (CNSA, CCTV)

China’s Lunar Rover Just Melodramatically Announced Its Impending Demise

A mechanical failure could mean the end of China's Jade Rabbit

smithsonian.com

China's Jade Rabbit lunar rover has a robotic personality more closely aligned with Marvin the Paranoid Android than the plucky enthusiasm of NASA's Curiosity.

Over the weekend, China's state-run Xinhua news agency shared a depressing missive, which CNN says was “written in the voice of the rover itself” and which reported the robot's current state:

"Although I should've gone to bed this morning, my masters discovered something abnormal with my mechanical control system," said the Xinhua report, in the voice of the Jade Rabbit. "My masters are staying up all night working for a solution. I heard their eyes are looking more like my red rabbit eyes."

"Nevertheless, I'm aware that I might not survive this lunar night," it added.

Even Curiosity's secret sarcastic inner-Hyde would struggle to be so dour.

During the lunar night, which lasts two weeks, says the Associated Press, the temperature drops to -292 Fahrenheit. To cope, Jade Rabbit is designed to go into hibernation. If it can't hibernate, says CNN, “then the Rabbit could freeze to death.”

“Sorry to make you all sad. The engineers and I haven't given up yet,” said the rover.

The Jade Rabbit rover, or Chang'e 3, touched down in mid-December and was scheduled for a three-month mission.

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About Colin Schultz
Colin Schultz

Colin Schultz is a freelance science writer and editor based in Toronto, Canada. He blogs for Smart News and contributes to the American Geophysical Union. He has a B.Sc. in physical science and philosophy, and a M.A. in journalism.

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