Lunar craft ‘wake up,’ start work

2014-01-12 23:43:54 GMT2014-01-13 07:43:54(Beijing Time)  Xinhua English

China's moon rover Yutu and the Chang'e-3 probe have just "woken up" after a period of dormancy that lasted two weeks, or one lunar night, in a move designed to ride out harsh climactic conditions.

Yutu (Jade Rabbit) was awakened autonomously at 5:09 am Beijing Time on Saturday and has finished necessary set-up procedures to enter a normal working mode following orders from the Beijing Aerospace Control Center (BACC), according to a statement from the center on Sunday.

It has started its journey around the lunar surface and scientific missions.

Chang'e-3 also awoke at 8:21 am on Sunday, and is currently in normal condition, the statement said.

One night on the moon lasts about 14 Earth days, during which time both machines were powered down and communication with Earth was cut off.

"When the night ends, they will be started up with the power provided by sunlight and resume operations and communication according to preset programs," Zhou Jianliang, chief engineer of BACC said.

The awakening of the rover and lander marks the success of Chinese technology in surviving the lunar night.

The center will instruct the two instruments to carry on scheduled exploration missions, the chief engineer added.

Chang'e-3 soft-landed on the moon's Sinus Iridium, or the Bay of Rainbows, on December 14, and Yutu later separated from the lander.

The rover went dormant on December 26 with the arrival of the first lunar night of the mission since it landed.

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