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Possible hope for Yutu: "Situation is getting better," but no details [UPDATED]

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla

12-02-2014 14:50 CST

Topics: mission status, Chang'E program

UPDATE: A website devoted to the amateur monitoring of radio signals from deep space, uhf-satcom.com, reports that a downlink signal from the Yutu rover has been detected, so it is alive! There is still no information on the rover's state of health and whether it can still be commanded, but with deep-space missions that are facing problems, receiving a signal from a distressed spaceship is the number one best piece of news you can hear.

Signal detected from Yutu rover

uhf-satcom.com and Hearsat

Signal detected from Yutu rover
Radio enthusiasts from the website uhf-satcom.com detected a signal from the Yutu rover on February 12, 2014, confirming that it had survived through a second lunar night despite a malfunction.

A terse Xinhua news report posted today says there may be some sign of life from Yutu, now that the Sun has risen on the third lunar day since Chang'e 3 landed. Here is the entire text:

 【情况趋好,再等等——玉兔有望再传音讯】一位正在抢救小兔子的嫦娥三号任务核心人员刚才用嘶哑的声音,兴奋的语调告诉记者:“小兔子情况趋好,有点再醒 的迹象,再等等。”这是自上月25日玉兔进入月夜以来记者第一次听到积极消息。小兔子,加油!师傅们,你们辛苦了!余晓洁

Quanzhi Ye translated the part in quotes: "Bunny seems to be getting better, there is evidence that he is awake, we will see."

Here is the Google translation of the entire text:

Situation is getting better, then so - the rabbit is expected to re-transmission of audio] a small rabbit rescue mission Chang E III core staff just croaked, excited tone, told reporters: "Little Rabbit situation is getting better, a little longer wake signs, wait. "This is the 25th month since the rabbit into the moonlit reporter first heard positive news. Bunny, come on! Chefs, you have worked hard! Yu Xiaojie"

My reading of that translation: the reporter is stating that the Chang'e 3 core staff sound excited for the first time since the Sun set on the rover on January 25.

EDIT: Thanks to Chit-Yee Foh for providing this translation in the comments:

A Chang'e 3 mission core member who is rescuing Yutu has just spoken to reporter with a hoarse and excited tone: "The situation of the little rabbit is improving, with a little indication of awakening, wait a while more."

This is the first time since 25th of last month when Yutu enters lunar nights that a reporter heard something positive. Way to go, little rabbit! Thanks for the hard work, masters! - Yu Xiaojie

PS note the noun "Masters" in this case with the context of "master and disciples". It is common to address "profressionals" as "masters" in China.

This is frustratingly non-specific. But it allows some hope, anyway. If I hear anything further about what exactly has indicated that Yutu survived the lunar night, I'll post again.

EDIT: The report has since been confirmed by the Chinese Academy of Sciences via its Weibo microblogging account, quoting the Chinese Lunar Exploration Program's spokesperson, Pei Zhaoyu.

This report of hope comes the same day as another Chinese website -- the English-language outlet of the state-run China News Service (not a state news source, as far as I know) posted a story about the lunar rover being dead. The story got picked up by several English-language sites. But since the text of the story talks about netizens mourning it on Weibo, it sounds like this is not based on new information but is rather another version of the story reported here and here about the social media response to the unofficial Yutu Weibo account. So, if I were forced to pick which story to trust, I'd pick the "it may be alive" story.

Yutu on the Moon, December 16, 2013

Chinese Academy of Sciences

Yutu on the Moon, December 16, 2013
 
See other posts from February 2014

 

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

Comments:

Chit Yee Foh: 02/12/2014 12:41 CST

No new info in my translation but good to get the gist of the message: [Situation improving, wait a while more -- there's hope that we might hear from Yutu again] A Changer 3 mission core member who is rescuing Yutu has just spoken to reporter with a hoarse and excited tone: "The situation of the little rabbit is improving, with a little indication of awakening, wait a while more." This is the first time since 25th of last month when Yutu enters lunar nights that a reporter heard something positive. Way to go, little rabbit! Thanks for the hard work, masters! - Yu Xiaojie PS note the noun "Masters" in this case with the context of "master and disciples". It is common to address "profressionals" as "masters" in China.

Andrew Jones: 02/12/2014 01:05 CST

Global Times, an English language version of a Beijing newspaper under the auspicies of People's Daily, the official newspaper of the ruling Communist Party of China, recently backed up the "situation improving" report, stating that Xinhua's information came from an anonymous source from the space mission. http://gbtimes.com/opinion/jade-rabbit-still-fighting-despite-death-reports And ECNS is the English-language version of China News Service, which is maybe the second-largest state news agency, after Xinhua. I'm surprised they put this out, if it's not true. I hope Jade Rabbit awakes for another lunar day, but the mission has been a huge success regardless.

Emily Lakdawalla: 02/12/2014 03:09 CST

@Chit Yee Foh: Thank you very much for your excellent translation -- I hope that you don't mind that I inserted it into the original blog post. @Andrew: Ah, thanks for that information, I've corrected my error.

Wu : 02/12/2014 07:44 CST

Latest update, Yutu has recovered. Masters are now working very hard trying to identify and fix its problem.

Qi: 02/12/2014 11:24 CST

Thanks, Emily, for your prompt report using detected and traceable "signal". As far as I know, there are few Chinese officers from China's space administration spontaneously updating news to media on space events. China's space administration officers hesitate to release news to the public domain, due to the fact that they are afraid to let many people overstate facts some ambition or threat... Often, those limited information was distorted, was sold as commercial products, or became rumors. Some media even pretend to speak as the official media, because none will stand out to stop them. In this sense, you can hardly find reliable information source. As you can see from present reports, the original worry on the unclear abnormal performance of Yutu before hibernation had turned into all kinds of ridiculous reports including the reports on the Death of Yutu with clear statements on the reasons of the death. Your information on the observed signal is definite a clear evidence to show us that the Bunny is still alive on the moon! Keep us posted!

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