The Chinese rover Yutu, which translates to Jade Rabbit, has stopped operating, as reported by state media news online.
The little rover had a troubled life. Its original mission was supposed to be three months, but it ran into trouble in January 2014 after its first lunar night (which lasts 14 days). It was then unable to move after the second frigid night. The rabbit bounced back to life in February, and even though it was stuck in one place, it continued to collect data, setting the record for the longest operating rover on the Moon.
The rover “posted” a farewell message on the popular social media website Sina Weibo that said: “The moon says it has prepared a long, long dream for me, and I’m wondering what the dream would be like – would I be a mars explorer, or be sent back to Earth?”
The rover is part of the very successful Chang’e 3, a separate stationary lander that transported Yutu to the Moon in December 2013. This is the longest-ever mission on the Moon, which is entering its 31st month on our satellite. Chang’e 3 has taken incredible high-definition images of the Moon, and it also sports the first robotic telescope.
With Chang’e 3, Yutu became the first man-made object to land on the Moon since the Soviet Union’s Luna 24 in 1976. But for now, we have to say goodbye to Yutu.