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Zakalwe

Yutu rover Suffers Significant Setback

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It looks like the Chinese Lunar rover has hit some problems

http://www.universetoday.com/108576/yutu-rover-suffers-significant-setback-at-start-of-2nd-lunar-night/

"The abnormality occurred due to the “complicated lunar surface environment,” said the State Administration of Science, Technology and Industry for National Defence (SASTIND) in a brief statement, without giving further details, according to the paper" I wonder if that's an oblique reference to the problem of Lunar dust? Moon dust is incredibly abrasive- it's never been subjected to the weathering that dust on Earth gets, so has very sharp, abrasive edges. During the longer Apollo missions the astronauts reported that the wrist bearings in the suits were starting to bind as the dust worked its way into the mechanism.

It also has high electrostatic properties- cosmic rays and UV from the Sun knocks electrons out of the molecules, which causes the dust to travel along magnetic field lines (which are generated by electrical cables) and to stick to everything with static electricity. I think that it was Gene Cernan that described the dust as the biggest technological obstacle to a long-term Lunar mission.  It is possibly toxic to humans as well.

Here's one solution:
http://blog.chron.com/sciguy/2013/12/if-we-ever-go-back-to-the-moon-how-are-we-going-to-cope-with-its-hidden-hazard/

..to the problem of astronauts looking like they've just come back from a shift down t'pit

abh.sized.jpg
 

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Because it's made in China? :D Well, pretty common for such missions to go wrong one way or another...

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Because it's made in China? :D Well, pretty common for such missions to go wrong one way or another...

Without wanting to play on cultural stereotypes :smiley: , it'd be also fair to say that just about every US mission had problems of one sort or another:

Apollo 1- Pad fire with 3 deaths

Apollo 4- fuel loading problems on the pad

Apollo 5 - suspected fuel leak in the LM

Apollo 6 - pogo oscillation in the launch booster

Apollo 7- failure of the SLA panels to retract properly. Plus the crew "mutiny"

Apollo 8 - Pogo problems again

Apollo 9 - Crew sickness

Apollo 10 -Loss of LM control during the ascent

Apollo 11- computer program alarms

Apollo 12- Lightening strike during takeoff

Apollo 13- Where would I begin?

Apollo 14- Problems with extracting the LM as the docking probe malfunctioned.

Apollo 15 -Engine shut-down failures on the S1-C

Apollo 16 -Significant issues with the CSM engine.

Apollo 17 - Problems with the launch sequencer. Damage to Lunar Rover fender.

This isn't an exhaustive list by any means. If you look here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_missions_to_the_Moon the list is peppered with failures, some of which were terminal failures.

I guess that it just shows that this stuff is very, very difficult to get right

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A real shame, hope it's recoverable. I was starting to wonder if they'd had problems as we'd heard so little about it since the landing.

interesting stuff on the lunar dust thanks, it would also be a problem on Mars if we ever go there.

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interesting stuff on the lunar dust thanks, it would also be a problem on Mars if we ever go there.

Im not so sure. The big problem with the Lunar dust is that it isn't weathered...the individuals grains are sharp. Plus it is totally exposed to cosmic rays and the Suns UV. Currently mars has a very thin atmosphere, but in the past it was probably thick enough to allow liquid water. That would mean that the dust has experienced totally different weathering.

I'm sure that there will be plenty of papers out there (might have a rummage on the NASA Technical reports Server) to see what's available on the Martian dust. I think (although it's mainly a guess) that the dust would be a problem, but not one of the same level as the Lunar dust.

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Without wanting to play on cultural stereotypes :smiley: , it'd be also fair to say that just about every US mission had problems of one sort or another:

Apollo 1- Pad fire with 3 deaths

Apollo 4- fuel loading problems on the pad

Apollo 5 - suspected fuel leak in the LM

Apollo 6 - pogo oscillation in the launch booster

Apollo 7- failure of the SLA panels to retract properly. Plus the crew "mutiny"

Apollo 8 - Pogo problems again

Apollo 9 - Crew sickness

Apollo 10 -Loss of LM control during the ascent

Apollo 11- computer program alarms

Apollo 12- Lightening strike during takeoff

Apollo 13- Where would I begin?

Apollo 14- Problems with extracting the LM as the docking probe malfunctioned.

Apollo 15 -Engine shut-down failures on the S1-C

Apollo 16 -Significant issues with the CSM engine.

Apollo 17 - Problems with the launch sequencer. Damage to Lunar Rover fender.

This isn't an exhaustive list by any means. If you look here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_missions_to_the_Moon the list is peppered with failures, some of which were terminal failures.

I guess that it just shows that this stuff is very, very difficult to get right

Exactly my point. These things are prone to issues...I guess everything in life is :)

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Exactly my point. These things are prone to issues...I guess everything in life is :)

I guess that it shows just how little we know and just ow difficult it is to do engineering in such extreme environments.

And it puts the Apollo missions into sharp relief. Given that the tech that they were using was designed nearly 50 years ago, it shows what a superb job they did.

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Speaking of Chinese products, I believe they've gone a long way since the label ''made in China'' indicated low quality. Best example is our telescopes... If anything, they hit the quality criteria with keeping the costs at bay. Slave/child labour and all this aside of course. :)

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It will be the Chinese batteries there pretty well dead when there made....:)

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It will be the Chinese batteries there pretty well dead when there made.... :)

Well, they've still cost £2.99 for lunar module. :D

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Speaking of Chinese products, I believe they've gone a long way since the label ''made in China'' indicated low quality. Best example is our telescopes... If anything, they hit the quality criteria with keeping the costs at bay. :)

Though to be fair they can also produce utter rubbish. The problem with chinese production, or at least the major problem I have encountered, is that production is so far removed from consumption that it is possible to get away with producing to a low standard. If you're not there to measure quality or oversee production then the only criterion they have to compete on is price. They can produce to a budget and can produce well but you still don't have that guarantee. That is

Im not so sure. The big problem with the Lunar dust is that it isn't weathered...the individuals grains are sharp. Plus it is totally exposed to cosmic rays and the Suns UV. Currently mars has a very thin atmosphere, but in the past it was probably thick enough to allow liquid water. That would mean that the dust has experienced totally different weathering.

I'm sure that there will be plenty of papers out there (might have a rummage on the NASA Technical reports Server) to see what's available on the Martian dust. I think (although it's mainly a guess) that the dust would be a problem, but not one of the same level as the Lunar dust.

A quick illustration of the comparitive problems is that on Mars Opportunity is still going after 10 years despite an initial 90 day mission while Yutu appears to be failing after four weeks of a 90 day mission.

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It always surprises me that anything works in space for long.

The stresses during launch and space itself makes a tough life.

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Not sure what happened there I was going to make a comment on mars v moon comparitive dust problems. The other comment I deleted before posting because it was kind of getting off topic but it seems to have appeared anyway!

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Im not so sure. The big problem with the Lunar dust is that it isn't weathered...the individuals grains are sharp. Plus it is totally exposed to cosmic rays and the Suns UV. Currently mars has a very thin atmosphere, but in the past it was probably thick enough to allow liquid water. That would mean that the dust has experienced totally different weathering.

Perhaps not in terms of abrasiveness (I'm not sure how they compare), but in terms of fineness and potential for toxicity. There are some possible solutions, such as space suits which dock onto the outside of a craft, rather than having a conventional airlock. This avoids having to bring the suits themselves inside.

A quick illustration of the comparitive problems is that on Mars Opportunity is still going after 10 years despite an initial 90 day mission while Yutu appears to be failing after four weeks of a 90 day mission.

On the other hand, the Russian Lunokhod 2 rover holds the extra-terrestrial distance record:

out_of_this_world_records_large.jpg

I wouldn't make too many assumptions here, it's just a guess that the Jade Rabbit problems are dust related.

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It looks like Yutu has been pronounced dead :embarrassed:

http://www.newscientist.com/article/dn25038-chinas-jade-rabbit-rover-pronounced-dead-on-the-moon.html?utm_source=NSNS&utm_medium=SOC&utm_campaign=hoot&cmpid=SOC|NSNS|2013-GLOBAL-hoot#.Uvvey_s09OU

The report indicates that the Lunar dust could have been the cause, so it looks like I called it correctly.

Edited by Zakalwe
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A real shame it has expired. :(

The report indicates that the Lunar dust could have been the cause, so it looks like I called it correctly.

Could well be a good guess, but we won't know for sure unless the Chinese release more information or Green Flag pay a visit. ;)

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A real shame it has expired. :(

Could well be a good guess, but we won't know for sure unless the Chinese release more information or Green Flag pay a visit. ;)

I wonder if they will reach it in an hour? :grin:

The latest reports are that, despite the official statement confirming it's death, it appears that Yutu has survived the night and contact has been re-establshed

http://www.newscientist.com/article/dn25048-chinas-jade-rabbit-moon-rover-showing-signs-of-life.html#.UvyyArQ09Mo

Here's the links to the Chinese source:

http://www.ecns.cn/2014/02-13/100662.shtml

http://www.ecns.cn/2014/02-13/100653.shtml

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Apparently the downlink signal was detected by an amateur group that monitors deep-space radio transmissions. the signal was from the directional antenna, which would suggest that the mast is functional and can orient itself to point at Earth.

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How would dust get on the rovers panels ?

The dust is charged electrically by the effects of the solar wind. It can travel along magnetic field lines (caused by electrical cables), or be attracted by a static electrical charge.

It's very possible that the dust has lodged in the moving surfaces and caused damage either through it's abrasiveness of by "gumming" the works up.

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