China says goodbye to its Jade Rabbit moon mission
China’s Jade Rabbit lunar rover, popularly called “Yutu,” has been retired, the state media reported Wednesday.
The rover that arrived on the moon on Dec. 14, 2013, aboard the Chang’e 3 lunar lander and spent 31 months on the moon collecting data from the moon’s surface.
On July 28, Chang’e 3 went into hibernation for the 14-day lunar night and Jade Rabbit’s operations ceased. “Hi! This could be the last greetings from me!” was the last post on the rover’s Weibo — the country’s alternative to Twitter — account.
Among its discoveries, the rover found evidence that the moon has been surprisingly geologically active over the last 3.3 billion years. Missions scientists mapped out nine distinct rock layers on the moon.
The lunar rover also explored a massive crater called C1 and found that it was the result from a huge impact between 80 million and 27 million years ago.
China has more ambitious plans to explore the moon, with two robotic missions planned for the next two years.