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"Well we don't exactly know what happened, there's not a lot of detail," says Emily Lakdawalla, a blogger and senior editor with the Planetary Society, a non-profit that supports space exploration. The rover was preparing for the lunar night time, which lasts for two weeks. It was supposed to fold up to shield its delicate electronics from the cold. That didn't happen — and now, Lakdawalla says, its circuity is done for.
"It'll just break, it will physically break because of the incredibly cold temperature, and there's no way to fix that," she says. "You can't send Triple-A up onto the moon to fix your broken car. It's done."
Why the rover couldn't fold up as designed is unclear. Lakdawalla says one culprit may be lunar dust. The dust is extremely fine, and it clings to anything it touches.