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