When China launched its first lunar probe into space, there was great joy all over the world as yet another nation joined the space exploration club. Unfortunately, what followed was a string of failures for Yutu,the Chinese Lunar Rover. Yesterday, Chinese officials declared that the small rover was no longer functional and was being considered a total loss.
"A mechanical control abnormality occurred to Yutu because of the complicated lunar surface environment," said China's State Administration of Science, Technology and Industry for National Defense. Issues due to the harsh lunar environment are not isolated to China either. Back during the Apollo program, NASA experienced several issues with spacecraft and lunar vehicles due to the razor sharp lunar dust and soil that clings to everything. While the failure of Yutu is definitely tragic, it should provide some valuable insight into what China will need to prepare for if they wish to visit the Moon again.
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