China's first lunar rover, Yutu, has been
operating on the moon for almost two
years, setting a record for the longest
stay by a rover.
Yutu was deployed and landed on
the moon via China's Chang'e-3
lunar probe in 2013, staying longer
than the Soviet Union's 1970 moon
rover Lunokhod 1, which spent 11
months on the moon.
Reports of its operations have
streamed live through Sina Weibo,
Chinese microblogging site, and its
Weibo account has nearly 600,000
Yutu experienced a mechanical
control abnormality in 2014, but it
was revived within a month and,
though it is unable to move, it
continues to collect data, send and
receive signals, and record images
The launch of Dongfanghong-1,
China's first satellite, in 1970 made
China the fifth country to launch a
domestic satellite using a domestic
rocket, following the Soviet Union,
the US, France and Japan.
Shanghai Aerospace System
Engineering Institute (SASEI) and
Beijing Institute of Spacecraft
System Engineering (BISSE)
developed the rover. The project was
launched in 2002 and completed in
The word Yutu means Jade Rabbit.
The name was selected as rabbit is
the pet of Chang'e, the Chinese
goddess of the Moon.
China launched its manned space
programme in the 1990s and
successfully sent Yang Liwei, the
country's first astronaut, into orbit on
the Shenzhou-5 spacecraft in 2003.
Meanwhile, China is planning to be the
first country to land a lunar probe on the
far side of the moon, or "dark side of the
moon" which is never visible to Earth.
The mission will be carried out by
Chang'e-4, a backup probe for