back to article China confirms Jade Rabbit lunar rover has conked out

The Yutu rover delivered in China's first moon-probe mission has popped its clogs and will become a permanent fixture of the lunar landscape. "China's first lunar rover, Yutu, could not be restored to full function on Monday as expected, and netizens mourned it on Weibo, China's Twitter-like service," China News Service …

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  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Jade Goody would be a more appropriate name now.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Cold.

      "Jade Goody would be a more appropriate name now."

      That's as cold as the lunar night. I upvoted it.

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I did think...

    ...that all the rubbish was exported, and the Chinese kept the good stuff for themselves. As Jade Rabbit has proven no more durable than many of my kids Chinese made toys and gizmos, I'm pleased to see that they haven't been discriminating against us pointy noses.

    1. Beachrider

      It is BAAAAACK...

      Articles today advise that there HAS been a response from Jade Rabbit. Not sure how much damage it may have sustained from the freeze-out, though

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    This is what happens

    When the Chinese try to build their own instead of stealing the plans from NASA.

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    It is...

    It is an ex-parrot...

    1. AbelSoul

      Re: It is...

      > It is an ex-parrot...

      ... pining for the hǎiwān....

  5. Rodrigo Valenzuela

    The Chinese are learning. And if we look back, they learn VERY fast.

    This mission may not have been succesful, but there will be others, and others... They are nothing if not persistent.

    On the other hand, I have never enjoy this kind of human effort failing.

    I would really like to see other nation/states focusing their efforts on this kind of technology and everything it implies.

    R

    1. DJO Silver badge

      The really difficult part was actually getting to the Moon and then making a soft landing, the rover is a different technological problem they'll probably sort out soon enough.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Learning is what happens when you do something the first time - after it has successfully been done a few times by someone else you are coping.

      NASA (and others) have successfully sent rovers, China is coping their work.

      1. monkeyfish

        NASA (and others) have successfully sent rovers, China is coping their work.

        Well they would have been pretty bloody stupid not to have learned as much as possible from previous missions. Or would you prefer it if the occasional bridge was made of cheese because the builders didn't copy any previously used designs?

      2. BristolBachelor Gold badge
        FAIL

        "NASA (and others) have successfully sent rovers, China is coping their work."
        I have it on good authority that the NASA programs were largely developed on paper - invented by the Chinese, so obvious copying there. Also there are some rumours that the rockets were actually based on German technology - again more copying.

        Sorry; I've got lost somewhere. What exactly was your point? (Where's the twat icon?)

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Yes - all technology is based on existing work. -1 point for making the most obvious observation I have heard in a while.

          It would be a significant accomplishment if the Rover broke some new technology hurdle instead of doing what has been done by other before. (and more successfully it appears).

          To place it in simple terms for the simple minded - if I went and build a copy of the Wright Flyer and it flew do you think I made a signification technology accomplishment?

          So far all I can see if the Chinese are building the skills necessary - I have yet to hear of any major (or even minor) technical hurdle that has not already been solved by others.

          Being first get in you the history books, being second (or 3rd?) gets you in a trivial game - at best.

    3. Norman Hartnell
      Facepalm

      "This mission may not have been succesful" - all they did was get a rocket to launch without exploding, navigated it to the Moon, soft-landed on it and deployed a rover which moved around the surface, did analysis and took pictures. Sounds like a total failure to me...

    4. cray74

      This mission was very successful on a lot of points: launch, navigation to the moon, motor restarts in space, soft landing, deploying the rover, getting the instruments working, communication with home, etc. Those are the hard parts of getting to the moon (or Mars, and elsewhere) that have historically fed a lot of US and Rooskie space probes to the Great Galactic Ghoul.

      If you look at a timeline of Russian moon landings, it was like they were blindly spraying a probe machine gun into the sky until they hit the moon. Blew up on the launch pad. Escape stage failed, stuck in orbit. Bad navigation sends probe into deep space. Escape stage failed, stuck in orbit (again). Motors fail to fire for landing. Smacked into a lunar mountain. The US had its own litany of failures getting to the moon, or even getting rockets off the launch pad.

      Venusian and Martian exploration is littered with tales of failure, from the difficulty the Soviets faced just getting camera covers off (Venus landers) to the US's trouble with English-metric conversions (leading to the Mars Climate Orbiter's unplanned lithobraking maneuver). We're still at about a 50% success rate with Mars missions.

      And China's first lunar landing mission got off the launch pad, navigated to the moon, soft landed, and started working. Yeah, it failed before it was supposed to, but Jade Rabbit also bypassed all the trouble points that repeatedly wrecked so many other space probes. That's plenty of success, and one huge learning experience.

  6. Frankee Llonnygog

    Should have spent a bit more

    Next time - Duracells

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Should have spent a bit more

      Duracells and a different name. Maybe something that doesn't sound like it was picked from an Anne Summers' catalogue.

  7. Stevie Silver badge

    Bah!

    If only there were someone up there to give it a good hard kick and get it going again.

    Oh, that's right. Robots are better than people for exploring space stuff.

    8op 8ob 8op Thrrrrrrrp!

  8. Mark 85 Silver badge

    Rather a pity.

    I hoped it would work. Maybe have the Chinese doing things on the moon would spur other countries to give it a shot. Perhaps one of these days, we (the US) will be back on the moon. Hopefully in peace and not in some sort of urination contest like the Cold War was. Somehow, I don't think that will happen.

    As far as Chinese junk... seems history is repeating itself. Japanese, Taiwanese, Korean goods were all once considered "junk". Once China gets out of the "labor for others" mindset and start their own manufacturing and design for themselves, they'll move up that quality ladder.

    1. Radbruch1929

      Re: Rather a pity.

      While I share your sentiment, I hope that they made all the mistakes possible in this mission. Not because I am anti-Chinese but because then they are not going to make them when they are going to send a human taikonaut. And getting more experienced certainly is no reason to be "red faced".

  9. Mr Paranoid

    Return trip

    Most missions get to their destination, some work when they arrive, the trick is returning, in the case of human beings - alive.

    1. MachDiamond Silver badge

      Re: Return trip

      If you look through a list of missions sent to Mars, it's only in recent years that the success rate has gone up. Before the MER rovers, about half of the missions to Mars failed.

      The temperature cycling on Luna is wicked and makes for difficult problems. I'd like to see them send up a mission to retrieve the rover and bring it back for an autopsy. There's nothing like being able to examine the corpse to really nail down the cause of death.

  10. Marketing Hack Silver badge
    Alien

    I didn't know that Jade Rabbit had ground-penetrating radar!

    Were they looking for the lunar Monolith? No wonder strange things started happening! I bet Jade Rabbit went out singing "Daisy".

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    No problems: just order another cheap-as-chips one from some guy in Taiwan on fleabay.

    1. Stoneshop Silver badge

      Just order two dozen from DealExtreme, with a shipping address of Mare $whatever, Luna. In separate orders, obviously, so that any shipping mishap doesn't hit the entire batch.

  12. MondoMan

    IT 0, LP 1 (but don't worry, it's not about climate change)

    IT:

    "Mars probe Curiosity dumped solar panels altogether in favor of a nuclear heart. That rover uses a basic nuclear power system to provide energy for getting around, but also to keep the rover warmish during nighttime periods. The reactor should outlast the rest of the rover's parts by years."

    LP (in linked article):

    "Curiosity will generate both heat and power from its Multi-Mission Radioisotope Thermoelectric Generator unit, build by the nuclear-space boffins of the Idaho National Lab. A radioisotope generator isn't a reactor - it doesn't use a chain reaction to accelerate fission in its plutonium. "

    So technically, no "nuclear power", no "reactor", just natural radioactive decay...

    1. TimeMaster T
      Boffin

      Re: IT 0, LP 1 (but don't worry, it's not about climate change)

      "So technically, no "nuclear power", no "reactor", just natural radioactive decay..."

      Technically it is still "nuclear power" as it uses atoms falling apart, the "radioactive decay" you mention, to produce energy.

      You are however dead on that is is NOT a nuclear reactor, just a bunch of thermocouples arranged around a hot chunk of Pu-238.

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Radioisotope_thermoelectric_generator

      1. This post has been deleted by its author

  13. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    That would be Pilyugin's first law - we learn much more from failures than from successes.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nikolay_Pilyugin

    1. MondoMan
      Joke

      Re: "Pilyugin"

      And I thought you were going to make a tech support "have you checked if it is Pilyugin?" joke...

  14. Pu02

    Now the moon has got some Chinese rubbish too...

    I'd be surprised though if some American astronauts haven't left some single-use piece of packaging behind that originated in China- there's probably tons of it in some crater somewhere!

  15. Gene Cash Silver badge

    Actually, no, it's back!

    They've heard signals again.

  16. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Not dead

    It's been reassigned to North Korea, where it'll be transmitting the immortal words of the great, um, dear, um, beloved, um, whatever leader--together with inspirationally-patriotic music--to the entire galaxy.

  17. JustWondering
    Happy

    No worries!

    A short stay in a motivational camp for the engineers and I'm sure the next effort will be successful.

  18. Captain Obvious
    Joke

    Wouldn't you know....

    The warranty expired only one day before it died?

  19. Florida1920 Silver badge
    Coat

    The moon is pregnant!

    The rabbit died! You know what that means!

  20. Nanners

    China spreds trash all the way to Moon.

    Fixed for you.

    1. Soruk
      Joke

      Re: China spreds trash all the way to Moon.

      And the first pictures sent back by the Jade Rabbit:

      http://laowaicomics.com/post/70548533518

  21. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Commies are out in full force today...

    ...with all the down votes.

    They say imitation is highest form of flattery. I hate flattery.

    1. Woodgar

      Re: Commies are out in full force today...

      I believe it was the "Commies" who first put satellites into orbit and men into space. America just came along and copied all their hard work.

  22. Qu Dawei

    Mistakes are necessary for learning

    If you are not prepared to make mistakes, you cannot easily learn. This has been known for many years, even though it is sometimes dressed up with some Russian person's saying. The Chinese want to learn, and I am sure they will learn a lot from the mistake. However, they already achieved a lot, and I hope they go on to do much much more in this direction.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Mistakes are necessary for learning

      How about the Chinese learn from their great history that human beings value autonomy over anything else?

      1. TheOtherHobbes

        Re: Mistakes are necessary for learning

        > How about the Chinese learn from their great history that human beings value autonomy over anything else?

        ...And we all know what happened when HP tried that.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Mistakes are necessary for learning

          Maybe you would like to join them. You can always sell the foetus to pay for the abortion. I hear it fetches a good price at restaurants. Excuse me. I've made myself sick.

  23. Michael H.F. Wilkinson Silver badge
    Pint

    I have said it before, I will say it again

    If you have successfully placed a rover on the moon and you have made it last longer than Jade Rabbit, then you have a right to knock the Chinese effort.

    They launched and landed successfully, they gathered data and images, had the thing working for quite a while, and now it has broken. Not bad at all in my book.

    I will be happy to raise a glass of Tsingtao beer in the engineers' honour this evening (although I might have to resort to another brand). I have several pieces of excellent Chinese optical kit, and know they can built excellent stuff when they "build up to a spec, rather than down to a price" as a friend of mine likes to say.

    1. Lars Silver badge
      Pint

      Re: I have said it before, I will say it again

      Yes, and perhaps it's better to produce something than nothing and perhaps it would be clever to be a bit less nationalistic for all of us. And that goes very much for China too. As for copying we have copied stuff from China too and all American cars and engines are mere copies too if that "copying" is of such importance for somebody.

      1. I like noodles

        Re: I have said it before, I will say it again

        "perhaps it would be clever to be a bit less nationalistic for all of us"

        Good to read some sense in all of these lunar/martian comments.

        As far as I'm concerned when 'nauts get into space they aren't American, Russian, Chinese, or any other nationality. They're simply human.

        The same applies to robotic kit. In the grand galactical scheme of things, we're all one. And for those that can't see that? - maybe they should have another look at that pale blue dot.

  24. pop_corn

    My prediction: this is the first step to a one way Chinese manned mission to Mars.

  25. Florida1920 Silver badge
    Terminator

    It's baaaaack!

    According to the Grauniad, the rabbit has risen from the dead.

    http://www.theguardian.com/science/2014/feb/13/jade-rabbit-lunar-rover-alive-after-all-says-china

    It wasn't dead after all, it was only pining for the smog-filled streets of Shanghai.

    1. Norman Hartnell

      Re: It's baaaaack!

      Emily Lakdawalla has some info here: planetary.org

    2. Michael H.F. Wilkinson Silver badge
      Coat

      Re: It's baaaaack!

      Was it spotted carrying a card "I ATEN'T DEAD!"?

  26. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Looking at it, I can't help feeling whoever designed it did a design (physically) on a par with dirt cheap Chinese imports directly exported to buyers over Ebay from Hong Kong, rather than the ones that are designed and manufactured for vendors, by reputable Chinese companies

  27. mhenriday
    Pint

    The drama doesn't seem to be over quite yet ...

    as signals seem to have been received which indicate that the Rabbit has awakened. Our moon may be rather closer than the stars, but Seneca's dictum still holds : non est ad astra mollis e terris via. Kudos to all those working on the programme !...

    Henri

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