Yutu still operational after two years

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Despite an inability to move, China’s rover Yutu has now set the longevity operational record for rover on the Moon.

Yutu was deployed and landed on the moon via China’s Chang’e-3 lunar probe in 2013, staying longer than the Soviet Union’s 1970 moon rover Lunokhod 1, which spent 11 months on the moon. Its operations have streamed live through Sina Weibo, a Chinese microblogging site, and its Weibo account has nearly 600,000 followers.

Yutu experienced a mechanical control abnormality in 2014, but it was revived within a month and, though it is unable to move, it continues to collect data, send and receive signals, and record images and video.

One comment

  • Edward

    I suspect that the article’s use of the words “stay” and “spent” actually mean “operations” or “operational.” Neither probe, Chang’e-3 and Lunokhod 1, were designed to ever leave the surface of the moon.

    Meanwhile, Chang’e-3’s unfortunate problem with mobility was disappointing at the time of the failure, but it is reassuring that the probe is still operational for collecting and returning data as well as for communicating with Earth. Hopefully, China’s next probe will roam farther and return data from more diverse locations on the moon.

    I agree with Blair Ivey’s comment (on another post) about the robustness of space machines:

    There are many hazards to our machinery, including the continuous exposure to radiation — which can damage or degrade computer chips and other equipment and materials.

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