, BEIJING, Jan 25 – China’s Jade Rabbit moon rover has experienced a “mechanical control abnormality”, state media said Saturday, in what appears to be a setback for a landmark mission in the country’s ambitious space programme.
The abnormality occurred due to “the complicated lunar surface environment,” the official Xinhua news agency said, citing the State Administration of Science, Technology and Industry for National Defence (SASTIND).
Scientists were “organising an overhaul”, the report added, without giving further details.
There were no reports of the abnormality on SASTIND’s website.
The Jade Rabbit, or Yutu in Chinese, was deployed on the moon’s surface on December 15, several hours after the Chang’e-3 probe landed.
The mission is a huge source of pride in China, the third country to successfully send a lunar rover to the moon, after the United States and the former Soviet Union.
The landing was the first of its kind since the former Soviet Union’s mission nearly four decades ago.