Jan 31, 2014 11:22 AM EST
Jade Rabbit Says 'Goodnight' Before 14-Day Shutdown; Its Status Uncertain
China will have to wait two weeks to know if their space agency's Jade Rabbit moon rover will make through a brief hibernation during the lunar night.
According to the Associated Press, China said the rover will be shut down for 14 Earth days, the duration of a lunar night. Jade Rabbit experienced a glitch last week and officials were having trouble identifying it.
China's Xinhua News Agency has acted as the mouthpiece for Jade Rabbit, which has an enormous fan base of citizens. Last Friday, many people in China took to social media to send New Year's messages and well wishes to the rover.
"Chinese people have been worried about the Jade Rabbit," wrote a user named Yang Huiyan. "Hope the New Year will bring good luck to him."
Before officially going into what many hope will only be a temporary hibernation, here is what Jade Rabbit had to say:
"If this journey must come to an early end, I am not afraid," said rover, according to Xinhua News. "Whether or not the repairs are successful, I believe even my malfunctions will provide my masters with valuable information and experience."
The Chinese state media agency is known for its cut-and-dry news, but will deviate in order to encourage national pride. Jade Rabbit has been the source of great national pride since its launch, which has helped China become the latest success story of many countries with a developing space program.
Mission managers said Sunday they found an irregularity in the control mechanism for the rover, but would not say exactly what the issue was. They only disclosed that the problem is serious.
Jade Rabbit's Chinese name is "Yutu" and the rover's lander is named "Chang'e." In Chinese legends, Chang'e is a goddess and Yutu is her pet. The rover landed last month and was supposed to roam the moon for three months collecting data and beaming information back to Earth.
"The sun has already set here and the temperature is falling very quickly," Jade Rabbit's message read before shutting down. "I've said a lot today, yet still feel like it's not enough," the rover said in its concluding paragraphs. "I'll tell everyone a secret. Actually, I'm not feeling especially sad. Just like any other hero, I've only encountered a little problem while on my own adventure.
"Good night, planet earth. Good night, humanity."
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