Jade Rabbit Awakens, Will the U.S. Collaborate with China’s Space Missions?

The rising full moon is seen behind Christmas lights in Skopje (Photo: REUTERS/Ognen Teofilovski)

China's moon rover dubbed as the "Jade Rabbit" has awakened, following its hibernation that started Saturday.

The announcement was made on the rover's Weibo page, Yutu-2. "Afternoon nap is over, waking up and getting moving," the post read. The news comes after the Jade Rabbit rested on the far side of the moon on Saturday, in a move to shield itself from peaking temperatures that could affect or ultimately destroy its expedition.

According to The Straits Times, the China National Space Administration's (CNSA) Lunar Exploration Programme explained that temperatures on the moon were heightened up to 200 degrees Celsius, forcing the lunar rover to go on standby.

The Jade Rabbit's expedition is China's second attempt at probing the moon. This time, the rover made a grand entrance into the far side of the moon, creating the first historic landing on the moon's region that other nations have not yet probed.

At 140kg, China's lunar spacecraft is expected to capture images of the rougher side of the moon, following its successful separation from the lander on Thursday. The rover made its graceful landing somewhere within the South Pole-Aitken Basin. This region is home to one of the most voluminous impact craters the solar system has to offer, which also a key factor why the expedition is gaining lots of interest from scientists across the globe.

The Swedish Institute of Space Physics' Martin Wieser said of the expedition, "We know the far side from the orbital images and satellites, but we don't know it from the surface. It's an unchartered territory and that makes it very exciting."

The Jade Rabbit's Chang'e-4 mission is powered by research and tools provided by three power-countries: China, Germany, and Sweden. The goal is to further study movements and cosmic radiation on the other side of the moon.

Meanwhile, former London Mayor Ken Livingstone pointed out on Russian network RT that the Jade Rabbit's progress should prompt the United States to consider collaborating with China in terms of exploring the moon and space. So far, China has cooperated with Russia on space probes but the U.S. has yet to comment on the issue.

After the Jade Rabbit landed on the moon's far side, space enthusiasts observed that China has finally reached the U.S. and Russian level in terms of space exploration. While the first Chinese astronaut exited Earth's atmosphere back in 2003, the lunar rover's historic progression placed China among space exploring nations that deserve applause.

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