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China's 'Jade Rabbit' lunar rover declared dead: Media

Published on Feb 13, 2014 2:14 AM
 
This screen grab taken from a CCTV footage shows a photo of the Jade Rabbit moon rover taken by the Chang'e-3 probe lander on Dec 15, 2013. -- PHOTO: AFP

BEIJING (AFP) - China's troubled Jade Rabbit lunar rover has died on the surface of the moon, state media reported Wednesday, in a major setback for the country's ambitious space programme.

The country's first moon rover "could not be restored to full function", the state-owned China News Service said in a brief report, after the landmark mission ran into mechanical problems last month.

The Jade Rabbit, or Yutu in Chinese, was deployed on the moon's surface on December 15 and was a huge source of pride in China, only the third country to complete a lunar rover mission after the United States and the former Soviet Union.

The landing was a key step forward in Beijing's ambitious military-run space programme, which include plans for a permanent orbiting station by 2020 and eventually sending a human to the moon.

 
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