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back to article China's Jade Rabbit moon rover might have DIED in the NIGHT after 'abnormality'

China's moon rover, the Jade Rabbit, could be going gently into that good night after experiencing a "mechanical control abnormality". State news agency Xinhua reported the State Administration of Science, Technology and Industry for National Defence as saying that the rover was having trouble due to the "complicated lunar …

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In the words of Arnold J. Rimmer

ALIENS!

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Anonymous Coward

Re: In the words of Arnold J. Rimmer

Yep they were getting too close to the alien base clearly!

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Anonymous Coward

Re: In the words of Arnold J. Rimmer

Call a space craft after a brand of vibrator and fail to use Duracells will ultimately lead to failure and dis-satisfaction.

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Mandatory

http://xkcd.com/695/

:,-(

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Re: alien base

Moon Nazis, surely. They're still mining the helium 3 and won't be ready to attack until 2018.

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FAIL

Re: In the words of Arnold J. Rimmer

Nah. You know everything made in China is crap...

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MrT
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Call the cops!

Anyone checked the area for donuts?

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Coat

Re: In the words of Arnold J. Rimmer

An alien is probably holding it wrong

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Re: In the words of Arnold J. Rimmer

Turns out it was just a smegging garbage pod...

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Happy

Re: In the words of Arnold J. Rimmer

Quagaars!!

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Anonymous Coward

Re: In the words of Arnold J. Rimmer

Those aliens sure love rabbit stew.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: In the words of Arnold J. Rimmer

Typical made in China reliability then...

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Re: Mandatory

NO! xkcd/695 is reserved for higher honors.

While we can and should applaud Jade Rabbit, this in no way matches the plucky perserverance of Spirit. If Jade Rabbit had lasted years beyond its planned mission before succumbing to the harsh lunar environment, then OK.

If we ever establish a long-term human presence on Mars, one of the early missions should be to retrieve Spirit and Opportunity so that they may be brought home to well deserved Heroes' Welcome.

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Anonymous Coward

Yutu be or not to be....

Oh no, did Elmer J Fudd finally shoot the poor wabbit?

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Re: Yutu be or not to be....

Marvin the Martian, surely.

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jai
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Re: Yutu be or not to be....

but where's the kaboom? there's supposed to be an earth-shattering kaboom!

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Re: Yutu be or not to be....

No boom today.

Boom tomorrow.

There's always a boom tomorrow.

BOOM!

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Anonymous Coward

Jade Rabbit Lunar Rover "Made in China"

nuff said.

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How about "Beagle - made in Britain!"

Oh.....

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Anonymous Coward

What you mean to say is 'Designed and Made in China'.

Obviously a poor copy.

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Considering...

...that american quality control resulted in a bunch of losses (launch and failure to arrive at target) and the deaths of 3 people on the pad at about the same stage, I think the quality control deficiencies par for the course. Space is remarkably hard on equipment (-200C in the shade, + 200C in the sunlight for starters. Those kinds of thermal gradients cause major mechanical stresses)

Even the russians managed to trash their lunar rovers fairly quickly.

It's only in the last 15 years that western launchers have achieved decent reliability and we've been doing it since the 1950s (I don't see Britain or the EU going to the moon anytime soon. Brazil and India will both be there first - and trading with the chinese moon colony)

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Devil

Re: Considering...

China also has the benefit of 50 years worth of experience of other nations and the intervening improvements in technology. The US and Soviets were making this stuff up as they went along and doing it with tech older than you are.

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scrolling down looking to downvote the inevitable racist comment

yes found it

(although maybe it's a parody..nuff said? hmm difficult to tell)

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Re: Considering...

All China is doing is replicating publicly available ( or purloined ) technology. They are breaking no new ground. They survive by copying others work then *still* produce inferior junk. To compare the Apollo launch pad deaths to this FAIL is to compare a Chinese knock off Mickey Mouse watch to a Rolex Submariner. Yes the original may have had teething problems but China can't even make a quality copy.

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Re: Considering...

What is really funny is, how many here consider it a quality control issue.

It could as easily be one of the same type of glitches that everyone else gets in their space missions.

The last thing they want to ever do is reboot, it's a case of "What if the damned thing doesn't boot up again?".

Of course, it could also be that the mechanical hand got stuck while trying to give a three finger salute.

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Holmes

Re: Considering...

EU and ESA may not go to the moon, but they fly to Mars orbit and will attempt a comet landing in a few months...

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Re: Considering...

It's not that simple.

1) AFAIK, the blueprints for Apollo are not public domain. Some are available, some aren't. Others have been lost forever.

2) Even with the blueprints, you'd need the original engineers if you want to re-create something so complex. That's part of the reason that NASA was working on a whole new launch system rather than just making a copy of Apollo with some improvements

3) Even once you have a complete and perfect design, you still need the industrial base to create the parts. And since practically every nut and bolt will need to be a custom piece, you'll need a lot of new factories to build everything.

4) Space is nasty and dangerous. Accidents will happen. Stuff will break. Lessons will be learned.

In short, this was still a major achievement by the Chinese. Calling this set-back a capitalised-FAIL is hyperbole.

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Re: Considering...

Let me know when they "FAIL" on Mars...

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Pint

I ATEN'T DEAD!

Yutu might recover, lets keep our fingers crossed. A few comments to those trashing the Chinese effort:

1. I personally have yet to put anything on the moon, so therefore, I feel I am in no position to criticise their effort.

2. If you have achieved anything similar, and you know what the reason for the failure is, then I am sure you have something interesting to contribute, please do so!

3. "Simply copying" technology is rather harder than people think. Many think it is as easy as the copy-paste method of writing essays many students try (and all too frequently get away with).

4. Lunar dust is very, very nasty stuff. I have seen how very fine desert sand can get into anything and foul up even very well-built camera equipment. Lunar dust is worse.

5. The mission has been a pretty decent success so far: they landed successfully, they managed to get the lander working well in a very hostile environment, and they got good data and some nice images to boot. I'll drink to that any time

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Necessary?

Superfluous anthropomorphism. It just comes off weird and more than a little patronising, unless it was a response to a question from a 6-year-old. It does sound sad though.

Summarized in headlines around the world:

'Battery-powered rabbit creates warm feeling inside Chinese population'

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Re: Necessary?

Superfluous anthropomorphism OR they have the little Chinese guy from Oceans11 sitting in the thing driving it.

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Terminator

Re: Necessary?

It's not even kawaii enough to be a good copy of a Japanese Chibi Moe Spacerobot (with or without schoolgirl attendance).

Come on , China, get a grip!

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Re: Necessary?

"'Battery-powered rabbit creates warm feeling inside Chinese population'"

It's solar powered, not battery powered. If it was battery powered we wouldn't have the problem. We'd have a different problem.

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Re: Necessary?

It does sound sad though.

Did anyone else feel like an utter fool, reading this obviously made-up slush – and yet forcing back tears that threaten to well up any moment now?

Because I totally didn't. Not me, uh-huh.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Necessary?

“Ignorance is the night of the mind, a night without moon or star” – Confucius

"Sarcastic humor apparently escapes you faster than it takes a Jade Rabbit to die on moon" - NotConfucius

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Happy

Re: Necessary?

"Did anyone else feel like an utter fool, reading this obviously made-up slush – and yet forcing back tears that threaten to well up any moment now?"

I think they may have gotten the idea from old Readers Digest "I am Michael's Gall Bladder etc."

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Coat

Re: Necessary?

I'm sure it's all that 'Hop'e Chang'e' stuff ;-)

Hop'e -> hoppy? geddit? No?... hm...

The one with the thermal lining in it, please.

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Learning Curve

Considering the number of soft landing probes that the USA and USSR slammed into the moon or had malfunction in some unexpected way, China's first-time success in a lunar soft landing and getting a rover cleanly deployed is impressive. That's just a lot of untested engineering and variable to go wrong. It'd be a fairy tale ending to have Jade Rabbit achieve everything the designers and be the next methusaleh rover after Opportunity, but more realistic to figure something will go wrong on the first try.

Hopefully the Chinese will have enough telemetry to learn from the problem and avoid it with the next rover. Engineering mysteries are annoying.

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Go

Re: Learning Curve

I've heard this reasoning a few times and its not really accurate. You have to remember that back at the times of the initial Moon landings by the US and the USSR, the nations were in a space race due to the cold war, and in a war situation, you have pretty much all the money you need to defeat the enemy, so sending up something that will "probably" work was considered acceptable if it meant you got there ahead of the commie buggers/capitalists pigs (delete as approppriate). Additionally, the concept of quality control really only got introduced towards the end of the space race (when you will have noticed success rates of missions climbing substantially).

These days, space agencies survive on minimal funding, so you cant just lob something into space in the hope it will work, you have to be sure it will work, so huge amounts of testing are done beforehand to try to account for every possible failure. Failures still happen (you cant catch everything!), but a lot less happen now than in the past.

I write this, not to belittle the chinese effort, but to point out that the success rate of all modern space agencies is astonishing considering the restrictions they are under and the science they are trying to achieve. I have every confidence that the Chinese will get some very nice data from the Jade Rabbit, not everything might work, but I guarantee that those things that do work will be used to perform great science.

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Space != reliability

There are basically 2 approaches to space exploration:

* Send humans. Nobody wants the bad PR when people get killed, so reliability has to be really high. They have to come back. Humans are heavy and need air, food, etc which makes for huge payload. All very challenging, slows down progress and extremely expensive.

* Send robots. It's a bloody machine. If it dies, so what, send another. They don't have to come back. They can have unlimited missions if they don't break. Allows far more rapid experimentation. Way cheaper; five robot missions is cheaper than one manned mission so you can afford to make a few craters.

The Russians figured this out in the 1960s. Only 50% or so of their moon missions actually worked, but that was ok. The win some, loose some attitude allowed far more rapid progress.

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Re: Space != reliability

Sendnig the chief beancounter along on a manned mission would probably vastly improve its reliability, alrthough it would cost a bit more.

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Re: Space != reliability

How exactly will beancounter mannage improve a space expedition?

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Re: Space != reliability

"How exactly will beancounter mannage improve a space expedition?"

Ballast. When (not if) things get sticky you can throw him over the side and no-one will care.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Learning Curve

So their hacking skills truly do suck (proven by the fact they couldn't steal an American design that actually works)... oh, and btw, still waiting to see that aircraft carrier in action...

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Space != reliability

Isn't that obvious?

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eZgD89VYkVc

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Space != reliability

"Send robots. It's a bloody machine. If it dies, so what, send another. They don't have to come back. They can have unlimited missions if they don't break. Allows far more rapid experimentation. Way cheaper; five robot missions is cheaper than one manned mission so you can afford to make a few craters."

This is precisely the attitude that is going to get us into trouble when robots become self aware...

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Learning Curve

I see the Chinese readership has chimed in...

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Re: Space != reliability

How exactly will beancounter mannage improve a space expedition?

Self-interest. Go look up the quote about John Glenn who, when he was asked what he was thinking when in space, answered that he was considering the fact that all the equipment around him was made by the lowest bidder.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Space != reliability

Just send Chinese people - there are at least a billion to spare...

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jai
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Goodnight Earth. Goodnight humans

that reminds me of a PWEI song

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