China's moon rover flexes muscles
Updated: 2013-12-24 00:16
BEIJING - China's moon rover, Yutu (Jade Rabbit), completed an arm flexing assessment early on Monday, a key test before beginning other work on the surface, according to the Beijing Aerospace Control Center.
The trial checked the rover is in the best condition to endure extreme temperatures of minus 180 degrees Celsius in the first moonlight night, said Zhou Jianliang, chief engineer with the center.
Experts from the center estimated that the night is expected to appear on December 26 and will last for about 15 days, during which the rover will "go to sleep" without any energy supply.
The trial will help the rover continue explorations after the night, Zhou added.
Yutu has had to deal with direct solar radiation raising the temperature to over 100 degrees centigrade on its sunny side, while its shaded side simultaneously fell below zero.
Chang'e-3 soft-landed on the moon's Sinus Iridum, or the Bay of Rainbows, on December 14, establishing China as the third country in the world capable of carrying out such a rover mission after the United States and former Soviet Union.
Yutu will survey the moon's geological structure and surface substances and look for natural resources for three months, while the lander will conduct in-situ exploration at the landing site for one year.