jade rabbit
The lunar mission is to test technologies and build China's space exploration capabilities.China Space/Facebook

D-Day for China's Jade Rabbit is just over a week away, at which point scientists will find out if it survived the long lunar night after experiencing technical difficulties last week.

Experts at the China National Space Administration are currently at the half-way mark for the Jade Rabbit, or Yutu, to emerge from the 14 day lunar night, where temperatures plummet to around -170C.

Because of a technical malfunction, the Jade Rabbit will be unable to protect itself from the extreme cold. Had it been functioning normally, the rover would have shut itself down for the two week period.

The rover began experiencing mechanical control abnormalities last weekend. Pang Zhihao, a researcher at the China Academy of Space Technology, told China's Xinhua news agency: "The complicated environment on the moon's surface is frequently the main reason leading to abnormalities in the lunar vehicle."

Jade Rabbit on the moon
Footage of the Jade Rabbit probe on the moon's surfaceChina State Media

Leaders of China's Chang'e 3 project will not know if the Jade Rabbit survived until next week.

The rover landed on the moon's surface in December, marking the first time China had landed a spacecraft on the surface of the planet. Its mission was to collect samples and test technologies for future missions.

After running into technical difficulties, Chinese state media released a diary entry from the point of view of the Jade Rabbit, explaining its problems.

According to AP, it said: "If this journey must come to an early end, I am not afraid. Whether or not the repairs are successful, I believe even my malfunctions will provide my masters with valuable information and experience.

"Even so, I know I may not make it through this lunar night.

"The sun has already set here and the temperature is falling very quickly. I've said a lot today, yet still feel like it's not enough. I'll tell everyone a secret.

"Actually, I'm not feeling especially sad. Just like any other hero, I've only encountered a little problem while on my own adventure. Good night, planet earth. Good night, humanity."