(BEIJING) — “It is alive,” a delighted Chinese space official proclaimed Thursday.
He was referring to the Jade Rabbit moon rover, which officials said had died about a month after landing on the moon.
Jade Rabbit, named after a lunar goddess’ pet in traditional Chinese mythology, landed on the moon on Dec. 15 on a mission to do geological surveys and collect natural resources. It was expected to operate for about three months, but it suffered a serious mechanical problem late in January when entering its second 14-day lunar night, a period that exposes the surface to extreme cold.
Earlier reports in Chinese media had suggested that the Jade Rabbit was dead and it was “mourned” by Chinese social media users.
But Xinhua state news agency reported Thursday that the Rabbit was awake and able to pick up signals again, although it still has a mechanical malfunction.
The Jade Rabbit’s successful landing on the moon was the third soft-landing in history after the Soviet Union and the United States accomplished that feat four decades ago.
Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio
Sugam Pokharel and AJ Willingham, CNN
Alanna Petroff, CNN
Ivana Kottasova, CNN