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IT'S ALIVE! China's Jade Rabbit rover RETURNS from the DEAD

'Mechanical abnormality' still a problem, though

China's Jade Rabbit moon lander

It appears that China's Jade Rabbit lunar explorer is not as dead as it looked, as Chinese officials say that the moon rover has managed to awaken from its slumber.

China initially reported that the country's first lunar rover, Yutu, or the Jade Rabbit, couldn't be restored after it experienced a "mechanical abnormality" right before it went into shutdown while awaiting the return of the Sun to power up its solar panels.

But a spokesman for the Moon programme said that the team had managed to get a response from the plucky machine, though experts were still trying to figure out what was wrong with it.

"Yutu has come back to life!" Pei Zhaoyu told state news agency Xinhua.

Pei said the rover was now receiving signals normally, but it's not out of the woods yet as it's still troubled by that pesky "mechanical control abnormality".

"The rover stands a chance of being saved now that it is still alive," he said.

Yutu, named after the pet rabbit of mythological Moon goddess Change'e, whose moniker is used throughout China's Moon missions, was feared dead after it suffered from a glitch right before heading into the lunar night at the end of January.

The State Administration of Science, Technology and Industry for National Defence said at the time that the rover was having trouble because of the "complicated lunar surface environment". The rover landed on the Moon in December for a mission that was hoped could last three months. ®

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