China’s First Lunar Rover Live-Blogged Its Own Death (via Motherboard)
China’s first lunar exploration vehicle, the Yutu rover (or “Jade Rabbit”), is experiencing technical difficulties. On Saturday, the state-run Xinhua News Agency announced that the rover is suffering from a “mechanical control abnormality” brought on by the “complicated lunar surface environment.”
What makes this story so tantalizing is not just the state’s intentional vagueness surrounding the “abnormality,” but the fact that the Jade Rabbit appears to have responded to the news by penning a heartrending farewell to humanity through its unofficial Weibo page (a Chinese version of Twitter).
“If this journey is to be suspended ahead of schedule, I am not fearful…No matter whether I can be fixed or not, I believe I have left masters much valuable information and experience.
Before departure, I studied the history of mankind’s lunar probes…
About half of the past 130 explorations ended in success; the rest ended in failure.
This is space exploration; the danger comes with its beauty.
I am but a tiny dot in the vast picture of mankind’s adventure in space…
The sun has fallen, and the temperature is dropping so quickly…
to tell you all a secret, I don’t feel that sad.
I was just in my own adventure story - and like every hero, I encountered a small problem.”