China's much-ballyhooed moon rover made it through about half of its three-month mission — and then suffered a massive breakdown that potentially compromised its ability to continue.
The country's state-run news agency, Xinhua, issued the progress report in the voice of its explorer, Jade Rabbit — "Yutu" in Chinese — from the surface of the moon, CNN said.
"Although I should've gone to bed this morning, my masters discovered something abnormal with my mechanical control system," Xinhua reported, in the voice of Jade Rabbit. "My masters are staying up all night working for a solution. I heard their eyes are looking more like my red rabbit eyes."
And then the fateful pronouncement, CNN reported: "Nevertheless, I'm aware that I might not survive this lunar night."
A lunar night spans 14 Earth days. During, surface temperatures can drop well below zero degrees. To survive, the explorer has to "hibernate" to save and protect its electronic system. A mechanic problem could cause the system to freeze and fail.
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