Chinese space engineers over at the Bejing Aerospace Control Center (BACC) this morning issued remote commands to re-awaken the Chang’e-3 lander and Yutu rover from a forced slumber in order to survive their first long night on the moon.
A night on the moon differs from that on earth, lasting around 354 hours, just over two earth weeks. During which time the temperatures plummet to around negative 180 degrees Celsius, difficult conditions for any electronics to survive unscathed.
Since the two robots rely on solar energy for their power source, they were placed in to a hibernation mode to conserve energy during the cold lunar nights. During this time, through the use of a radioisotopic heat source their internal electronics and computer systems were kept warm inside at a maintained temperature of 40 degrees Celsius too keep the systems at a safe level for storage.
Yuyu, the 6 wheeled rover, was awoken first at 5:09am on the 11th followed by the stationary lander Chang’e-3 on the following day at 8:31am (Bejing local time). Once the solar panels became active on each robot they sprung in to action and communications reestablished with the BACC on Earth.
The robots have successfully made it a third the way through their expected 3-month mission, with plans to continue communications with them if they turn out to be capable of surviving longer duration in a similar manor to how NASA missions are extended past their expected lifespan.
Via: Universe Today