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Headshot of Emily Lakdawalla

I'm on All Things Considered today, talking about poor Yutu

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla

28-01-2014 17:06 CST

Topics: mission status, Chang'E program

As a lifetime listener of National Public Radio, it's beyond strange to hear my voice on All Things Considered! I wish it were for a happier reason, but I was invited on by Geoff Brumfiel to talk about the fate of poor Yutu.

Listen to Emily discuss Yutu on All Things Considered


I don't have any new information about Yutu beyond what I wrote on Saturday. There has been some confusion in the media about the blog entry, written by a Chinese space fan, that has Yutu speaking in the first person about its impending demise. More than one news outlet has reported it as being a release from Xinhua state media (here's one in Chinese from China, one in English from China, and one from CNN), but if I understand it correctly, they're reporting it wrong; the first-person report wasn't from state media, it was just one fan's writing. But to say it's "just" a fan is to diminish the great positive impact that fan has had on Chang'e 3 mission outreach. The responses of other Chinese fans, quoted in those articles, are emotional and real.

Yutu's dream


Yutu's dream
See other posts from January 2014


Or read more blog entries about: mission status, Chang'E program


RakeYohn: 01/28/2014 10:30 CST

Listened to your explanation of why the rover went down. Great job. Not a fan of when technical details are glossed over on NPR (as often happens due to the time constraints), but your take home message was very clear... The Dark Side of the Moon is much more fun to listen to than to visit.

Emily Lakdawalla: 01/28/2014 11:25 CST

I agree they can oversimplify due to time constraints but on this story there weren't any technical details available to oversimplify so that wasn't a problem!

Bob Ware: 01/29/2014 02:14 CST

If China can't pull the rabbit out of the hat, at least they succeeded and what they did accomplish was glorious! Understanding what went wrong and fixing it is the next step which will come, I think, fairly quickly since they had a well performing spacecraft upto now.

^-^: 02/04/2014 03:56 CST

The newest from Weibo: A good news: some of the mechanical defunctioned parts of Yutu have been successfully repaired at Feb 4th 14'40''! Yay! ^-^

George Ellis: 02/05/2014 04:05 CST

@^-^ So I understand ground control has been in contact with a living Yutu and Yutu responded during Lunar night?

^-^: 02/05/2014 07:37 CST

@George: It was only said in Weibo that [ some of the mechanical defunctioned parts of Yutu have been successfully repaired at Feb 4th 14'40'' ] , so yes, it insinuates that "ground control has been in contact with a living Yutu and Yutu responded during Lunar night". In another word: Yutu COULD jump back again soon (even in spite of possiblely some unfixed part/s) - this is what is currently discussed and cheered at the related Chinese forums.

^-^: 02/05/2014 07:55 CST

@George Ellis: OK, now the newest. 2 camps of news. CampA: that Weibo news was deleted soon after, so it's a fake news. Yutu is gone. CampB: a guy called his classmate yesterday (didn't say where he works) and got an answer that the control centre used Yutu's mechanical arm to have fixed its defunted parts so that it's almost fully recovered to shield off the cold night. Which camp is right? I guess we'll just have to wait and see.

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