China’s lunar rover functioning day after being declared dead
The Guardian: A day after it was declared dead, China’s Jade Rabbit lunar rover communicated with the nation’s space program, state media reported Thursday.
After a night of extreme cold on the moon, China’s space program reported its first moon rover had lost function. Citing a combination of mechanical issues in addition to the low temperatures, the program reported the rover dead. However, on Thursday, the program said that “it came back to life.”
It is unclear how much function returned to the rover, but the program said it now believes it is possible to save it.
Photo: China’s Jade Rabbit moon rover after it landed on the lunar surface. (AP/Xinhua)
The Yutu rover suffered a mysterious “abnormality” over the weekend. And the robot’s microblogged death note may make you cry.
“The sun has fallen, and the temperature is dropping so quickly…to tell you all a secret, I don’t feel that sad. I was just in my own adventure story - and like every hero, I encountered a small problem.” “Goodnight, Earth,” concluded the rover. “Goodnight, humanity.”
This mysterious abnormality resulted in the rover being unable to enter sleep mode, which would turn on its internal heaters and protect it from the -170 C temperatures of the lunar night. You just read the parting words of a robot freezing to death.
Researchers at Penn State are teaching Rhex (short for “robot hexapod”) how to travel across varied terrain by basing its movements in Parkour, an inventive way of propelling yourself from Point A to Point B as quickly as possible by using only your body and your surroundings to move forward.
The robot is unique because its equipped with legs instead of wheels, so researchers are taking their design inspiration from the movements of humans. Rhex can jump, back-flip, and even pull itself up over obstacles that are bigger than the robot itself.
The Atacama Desert in Chile is the perfect testing ground for rovers destined for Mars.
A rover named Zoe recently traveled the Atacama Desert in Chile, the driest place on Earth and a landscape that has much in common with the harsh terrain of Mars. From the unrelenting UV radiation, to the thin, cold air at high altitudes, to the desiccated sand and lava flows, the Atacama is not especially “life-friendly,” but it is a great place to test instruments for future Mars missions. (via Autonomous Rover Drills Underground in the Atacama)