On December 01 2013 an unmanned lunar mission was launched by the China National Space Administration. This mission, known as Chang’e 3, was the first soft landing on the moon since 1976. The mission comprised of the robotic lander and China’s first lunar rover known as Yutu.
After a successful landing and deployment, it became clear Yutu had suffered mechanical damage brought on by the “complicated lunar surface environment.” The damage prevented Yutu from entering a hibernation mode necessary to survive the extreme cold during the 2-week lunar night.
The mission, all but failed, took a reflective turn when the unofficial weibo page (twitter alternative) began publishing a series of statements from the voice of the rover Yutu. Anthropomorphic, philosophical, and profoundly sad, Yutu shed light on the beauty of space exploration and the vitality of human ingenuity as the temperature began to drop. The true author of the statements was never identified.
What follows is a dramatized artist’s rendering of the Chang’e 3 lunar mission.