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UPDATED: China successfully launched test mission for Chang'e 5 program today

Emily Lakdawalla • October 23, 2014 • 2

China launched to the Moon today! The spacecraft will have a brief, 8-day mission, out to the Moon and back. It is an engineering test for the technology that the future Chang'e 5 sample return mission will need to return its precious samples to Earth.

Chang'e 3 update: Both rover and lander still alive at the end of their eighth lunar day

Emily Lakdawalla • July 21, 2014 • 5

Despite the fact that it hasn't moved for 6 months, the plucky Yutu rover on the Moon is still alive. Its signal is periodically detected by amateur radio astronomers, most recently on July 19. A story posted today by the Chinese state news agency offers a new hypothesis to explain the failure of the rover's mobility systems.

Yutu Update

Phil Stooke • April 10, 2014 • 1

We don’t hear a lot at the moment about Chang’E 3 and Yutu, the Chinese lander and rover which were all over the news a few months ago. But Phil Stooke has been collecting news online and in person last month at the Lunar and Planetary Science Conference and now tries to put it all together and address the current state of the mission.

Checking in on Chang'e 3 and Yutu from Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter: Yep, still there!

Emily Lakdawalla • March 04, 2014

Seeing hardware that was built by human hands sitting on the surface of another planet never, ever gets old. Today, the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter Camera team released two new images of Chang'e 3 and Yutu on the Moon.

Brief Yutu update: Slightly more detail on what's keeping rover from roving

Emily Lakdawalla • March 03, 2014 • 4

Over the weekend, Chinese state news agency Xinhua reported in both Chinese and English a little bit more information on what has stilled the Yutu rover's motions across the lunar surface: "a control circuit malfunction in its driving unit."

Sunset on Chang'e 3's third lunar day: Yutu not dead yet, but not moving either

Emily Lakdawalla • February 24, 2014 • 4

During the third lunar day of Change'3 surface operations the lander operated normally, performing ultraviolet astronomy and imaging Earth's plasmasphere. The rover's instruments were working, but the rover did not move.

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

Emily Lakdawalla • February 12, 2014 • 5

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. It is frustratingly non-specific. UPDATE: Amateur radio operators have detected a radio signal from the rover.

Behind-the-scenes story of Yutu: Promoting space exploration in China

Quanzhi Ye • February 11, 2014

Promoting the story of Yutu to the Chinese public through social media: a successful case of science outreach.

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

Emily Lakdawalla • January 28, 2014 • 7

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.

Bad news for Yutu rover

Emily Lakdawalla • January 25, 2014 • 8

The Sun has set for a second time at Chang'e 3's landing site on the Moon. The lander is operating normally and shut down to sleep as expected, but the rover is not responding properly to Earth command so could not prepare properly for the oncoming lunar night, and likely will not survive it.

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