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China finally reveals Yutu’s problem: the failure of a control circuit prevents it from storing its solar panels during lunar night.
A functioning control circuit is required to lower the rovers mast and protect the delicate components and instruments mounted on the mast from directly suffering from the extremely harsh cold of the Moon’s recurring night time periods. “Normal dormancy needs Yutu to fold its mast and solar panels,” said Ye. The high gain communications antenna and the imaging cameras are [also] attached to the mast. They must be folded down into a warmed electronics box to shield them from the damaging effects of the Moon’s nightfall when temperatures plunge dramatically to below minus 180 Celsius, or minus 292 degrees Fahrenheit.