China's Sad, Dying Lunar Rover Isn't Going Down Without A Fight

Chinese Lunar Rover Death Watch, Day 17: It turns out the beleaguered Yutu, aka Jade Rabbit, may not be going gently into that good space-night. Hang in there, little dude!

CNN reports that "signs are emerging" that Yutu may in fact be up and running again. The last time we heard from it in late January, it signed off with the sadballs message "Goodnight humanity."

State news agency Xinhua had said that mission control lost contact with the rover after it encountered problems shutting off and risked "freezing" on the moon, but now they say that it is functioning once more.

But Yutu isn't out of the woods just yet. Here's CNN:

"Jade Rabbit has fully resurrected and is able to receive signals, but still suffers a mechanical control abnormality," China's lunar program spokesman Pei Zhaoyu told Xinhua.

"The rover entered hibernation while in an abnormal state. We were worried it wouldn't be able to make it through the extreme cold of the lunar night. But it came back alive. The rover stands a chance of being saved as it is still alive."

You hear that, Planet Earth? The Jade Rabbit is nobody's bitch, and it's not going down without a fight!

My first instinct was that this was a PR ploy by the Chinese state news to not make their first lunar rover look like a total joke. After all, Yutu has more than 300,000 followers on the Chinese version of Twitter, and this affair is being watched by the whole world.

But a British satellite and radio signal monitoring website also says they've been hearing chatter from Yutu. Maybe the rover has a shot after all.

Keep on truckin', Jade Rabbit! We believe in you!

Photo credit AP