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China’s Jade Rabbit lunar rover ends mission after 31 months

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BEIJING — China’s Jade Rabbit lunar rover has been retired after 31 months of collecting data from the moon’s surface.

The rover arrived on the moon on Dec. 14, 2013, along with the Chang’e 3 lunar lander and had originally been designed to operate for just three months.

On July 28, Chang’e 3 went into hibernation for the 14-day lunar night and Jade Rabbit ceased operations, state media reported Wednesday.

The rover’s cameras, telescopes and radar made it a key part of the mission. Data it produced offered insights into the geological evolution of the moon.

China will attempt to land an unmanned spaceship on the moon next year that would return to Earth with samples. Only the United States and Russia have previously carried out such a manoeuvr successfully.

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