China's moon rover 'sleeps' through lunar night

2013-12-25 02:20:41 GMT2013-12-25 10:20:41(Beijing Time)  Xinhua English

The moon rover and lander of China's Chang'e 3 lunar probe mission will "sleep" during the lunar night, enduring extreme low temperatures on the lunar surface.

According to Wu Fenglei of the Beijing Aerospace Control Center, the lander will "go to sleep" at about 7 a.m. on Christmas Day and the moon rover, Jade Rabbit, will fall asleep at about 1 a.m. on Boxing Day.

The forthcoming lunar night, expected to begin on Dec. 26, will last for about two weeks, experts with the center estimated. During their "sleep", both lander and rover will have to tolerate minus 180 degrees Celsius. Scientists tested the lander early Tuesday to ensure it can stand the temperature drop.

Both lander and rover are stable, said Wu, adding they have completed a series of scientific tasks in the past two days.

Chang'e-3 soft-landed on the moon's Sinus Iridum, or the Bay of Rainbows, on Dec. 14, establishing China as the third country to carry out such a mission after the United States and Soviet Union.

Yutu, the rover, will survey the moon's geological structure and surface substances and look for natural resources for three months, while the lander will conduct in-situ exploration at the landing site for one year.

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