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Yutu’s fans hope as lunar rover shows signs of awakening after malfunction

By Chang Meng Source:Global Times Published: 2014-2-13 1:18:03

China's first moon rover Yutu, or Jade Rabbit, showed signs of awakening on Wednesday following a malfunction at the beginning of the second lunar night of its mission.

"The little rabbit is getting better and shows some signs of awakening. Let's wait," the Xinhua News Agency quoted an anonymous source from the space mission as saying.

Thousands of Chinese Net users sent best wishes to the rover as the third lunar day began via a Sina Weibo account in Yutu's name.

The status of the Chang'e probe, which is not reported to have malfunctioned, is as yet unknown, with authorities promising an update in the coming days.

Yutu had conducted scheduled scientific research on the Moon since December 15, 2013. It awakened from the first lunar night on January 11, but a mechanical malfunction was detected on January 25 before going dormant for the second lunar night.

One lunar night lasts about 14 days on Earth, during which Yutu has to power-down to survive the -180 C surface temperature.

After Yutu failed to power-up Monday, data about its current condition and repair progress is still being collected and analyzed. This will be published promptly when ready, the State Administration of Science, Technology and Industry for National Defense told the Global Times Wednesday.

A Sina Weibo account in the voice of Yutu itself has attracted more than 270,000 followers, in which Net users have been leaving comments as if Yutu is a living figure from Chinese myth.

The account has not been updated since January 25 after it said good night to Earth. More than 21,000 comments have been left as of late Wednesday calling for it to get up and encourage it to fight, with many said they shed tears reading the lines.

"Bunny you got to get up … OK I have to study now because several years later I'm getting up there to get you damn rabbit back," wrote a 19-year-old boy with the screen name w9N.

While the Chang'e-3 mission made China the third country, after the former Soviet Union and the US, to soft-land a spacecraft on lunar soil, the public have showed unusual emotion attachment to this landmark achievement via the Yutu Weibo account.

"Thank you rabbit for telling the world that we're strong, the masters will work hard to send a buddy for you soon," wrote Weibo user Bihu.

Posted in: Air & Space