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The Star Online: Metro: Central

China's Jade Rabbit moon rover 'alive but struggling'

Posted: 28 May 2014 06:38 AM PDT

BEIJING, May 28, 2014 (AFP) - China's troubled Jade Rabbit moon rover is still alive after more than five months on the moon but is heading for an icy death, state media reported on Wednesday.

The rover launched in December can still send data back to Earth, Xinhua news agency cited Li Benzheng, deputy commander-in-chief of China's lunar programme, as saying.

But it is unable to move after its wheels broke down, the report said, and is suffering from chills after solar panels for thermal insulation during freezing lunar nights stopped working.

"With each lunar night, the functionality of Yutu is yet again weakened," Li said, using the Chinese name for Jade Rabbit.

The rover turns dormant and stops sending signals during the lunar night - two-week periods when the part of the moon's surface on which it is sited rotates away from the sun and temperatures turn extremely cold.

The Jade Rabbit is named after the pet of a mythical goddess of the moon in Chinese mythology, and was deployed on the lunar surface on December 15.

But it experienced a "mechanical control abnormality" on January 25, leading to fears in China it might never revive. To the country's relief, it started sending signals again in mid-February.

China sees the space programme as a symbol of its rising global stature and technological advancement, as well as of the Communist Party's success in reversing the fortunes of the once-impoverished nation.

Fire kills six typhoon victims in Philippine tent city

Posted: 28 May 2014 03:56 AM PDT

MANILA, May 28, 2014 (AFP) - Six members of the same family died after a fire struck a tent city set up for survivors of Super Typhoon Haiyan in the Philippines on Wednesday, a police official said.

The blaze broke out in a tent housing a couple and their six children in the central city of Tacloban after their home was destroyed by last year's typhoon, said Chief Superintendent Henry Losanes, the area's police chief.

The mother and her five children aged between four months and 12 years died while a sixth child was injured and is undergoing medical treatment, Losanes said.

The cause of the blaze is still being determined, he added.

The family was one of thousands left homeless when Haiyan, the most powerful typhoon ever to hit land, struck the central Philippines on November 6, 2013.

The typhoon killed 6,300 people and left 1,061 others missing, according to government records.

More than a million homes were also damaged by the storm and months afterwards, many of those affected are still huddling in vulnerable shelters like tents and makeshift shanties.

Reacting to the incident, President Benigno Aquino's special aide for Haiyan rehabilitation, Panfilo Lacson said that the government was already providing assistance to those affected and that residents of the tent city would soon be moved to "transitional shelters".

Kredit: www.thestar.com.my

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