China’s mission to the moon encountered troubles at the end of January, thanks to a “mechanical control abnormality” that was being investigated and hopefully repaired. Today it looks as though China’s lunar mission will be curtailed, as researchers on the ground have been unable to reawaken the Jade Rabbit rover.
It is though that the initial malfunction, which hit the craft just before it was supposed to enter hibernation, caused many of its components to be exposed to extreme cold that it otherwise would not have experienced. The Chang’e-3 moon lander has not been afflicted with the same issues so there is likely some portion of the lunar mission that can be salvaged but, sadly, roaming the rocky lunar surface doesn’t appear to be one of them.
There is, at the moment, no indication of what the eventual fate of China’s lunar expedition will be.
Update: It looks as though the Yutu moon rover still has a chance at restoring its functions. It still has not been fully restored but the Xinhua news agency is reporting that China has reestablished a connection with the rover and is still working sorting out the mechanical control issue. It isn’t much for now but they might be able to talk it into getting a little work done. But, for now, “Yutu has come back to life” and that’s probably good enough.