China's Moon Rover Shows Signs of Life

China's "Jade Rabbit" moon rover has showed signs of life, hours after being declared dead by Beijing space authorities.

A spokesman for China's lunar probe program told the official Xinhua news agency Thursday the robotic vehicle "has come back to life." He said technicians are still working to find the cause of a "mechanical control malfunction" the rover suffered late last month.

The problem occurred as the solar-powered rover entered a sleep mode during the frigid lunar night, which lasts about 14 Earth days. There were concerns the malfunction meant the Jade Rabbit would be more vulnerable to extreme cold and never be able to wake up.

Chinas first moon rover China's first moon rover "Jade Rabbit" touch the lunar surface and leave deep traces on its loose soil. /AP

Earlier Thursday, the state-run China News Service quoted officials as saying the rover "could not be restored to full function," as expected. The vehicle reached the moon in mid-December, the first soft landing on the lunar surface since 1976.

China is the third country to carry out a soft lunar landing, after the United States and the former Soviet Union. China's Communist Party views the mission as evidence of the country's growing scientific and global stature.

VOA News / Feb. 14, 2014 07:50 KST