February 5th, 2014
As the United States puts the brakes on its space missions, other countries are rapidly ramping theirs up. And watching how other space programs handle the international attention their missions get is fun. Take China: the country just sent a Wall-E-looking rover named ‘Jade Rabbit’ to the moon. The Chinese felt, as is to be expected, deeply connected to Jade and its mission.
Last week, when the rover was about halfway into its moon tour, things took a turn for the worse. Instead of going into hibernation in the moon’s deep freeze, Jade Rabbit kept running, ensuring the premature loss of power. When it was time to make a statement, China’s state-run news agency released one written in Jade’s voice. Yes, Jade wrote his own media statement and it’s beautiful:
Although I should’ve gone to bed this morning, my masters discovered something abnormal with my mechanical control system. My masters are staying up all night working for a solution. I heard their eyes are looking more like my red rabbit eyes. Nevertheless, I’m aware that I might not survive this lunar night…
…Before departure, I studied the history of mankind’s lunar probes. About half of the past 130 explorations ended in success; the rest ended in failure. This is space exploration; the danger comes with its beauty. I am but a tiny dot in the vast picture of mankind’s adventure in space. The sun has fallen, and the temperature is dropping so quickly… to tell you all a secret, I don’t feel that sad. I was just in my own adventure story – and like every hero, I encountered a small problem.
Goodnight, Earth. Goodnight, humanity.
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