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China's popular moon rover has stopped operations, China's science agency says

It functioned 972 days on the moon

CNN  — 

Farewell, Jade Rabbit and thanks for the memories. Fans of China’s first unmanned lunar rover, which had an active social media presence, said their goodbyes this week.

The probe, known as the Yutu, or Jade Rabbit, ceased operations after 972 days of service on the moon, reported Xinhua, the Chinese state-run news agency, citing China’s State Administration of Science, Technology and Industry for National Defense.

Its Weibo account posted a final message: “Hi! This could be the last greetings from me!”

“The moon says it has prepared a long, long dream for me, and I’m wondering what the dream would be like– would I be a mars explorer, or be sent back to earth?”

Its first-person Weibo account charmed fans since landing on the moon as part of the Chang’e-3 lunar mission in 2013. The landing made China the third nation after the United States and Russia to land on the moon’s surface.

Despite a shaky start to its mission, Jade Rabbit sent images and data back to earth. In February, China released hundreds of high-resolution photos taken by the rover, showing the moon’s surface in vivid detail.

The lunar probe exceeded its design life by 19 months, according to the State Administration of Science, Technology and Industry for National Defense.

This isn’t the first time Jade Rabbit said goodbye, but this time seems to be final for the lunar probe.

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