China's Jade Rabbit rover explores Moon soil

Yutu rover

China's Jade Rabbit Moon rover has completed its first examination of the lunar soil, state media claim.

The Beijing Aerospace Control Center said the rover had explored the surface using its mechanical arm on Tuesday night (Beijing time).

The survey lasted half an hour and official news service Xinhua said the rover performed well in the tests.

In December, the Chinese landing module and rover made the first "soft" landing on the Moon since 1976.

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The landing module and the rover will both gather information, the lander will operate for a year and the rover for three months.

Surveying the Moon

The rover is partly powered by energy from the Sun.

It only began to work after it had warmed up after hibernating during the lunar night, which lasts two Earth weeks.

Temperatures on the Moon can drop at low as -180C (-292F) so the equipment has to be protected by heating units.

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