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Sleeping or Dead? Fate of China’s Yutu Moon Rover Uncertain (UPDATE)

Don't pour one out for China's Yutu moon rover just yet — after being frozen solid by the lunar night and mourned by Chinese citizens, space enthusiasts worldwide and Patrick Stewart, the "Jade Rabbit" may be showing signs of life.

Yutu entered a controlled hibernation mode despite mechanical problems on Jan. 24 to weather the 14-day lunar night cycle, but should have woken up days ago. China's mission control has yet to offer an official statement of failure, though it did report that Yutu did not wake up on schedule and was not responding to stimuli.

But determining the situation on the moon's surface hundreds of thousands of miles away is no easy task — and Yutu's operators aren't giving up hope.

A dispatch Wednesday by Xinhua, China's official news agency, quoted an unnamed project official as saying: "Little Rabbit's situation is improving, showing some signs of waking up, let's wait a little more."

Meanwhile, amateur deep-space radio monitors at UHF-Satcom spied a signal they are pretty sure is coming from Yutu:

No one can say for sure until someone at mission control confirms directly, but there is hope yet for China's first lunar rover.

UPDATE: China's Xinhua News Agency reports that the rover "came to itself" and "stands a chance of being saved" — although the rover may not necessarily be at full functionality. More details on Yutu's "adventure" are to come, the news agency promised.

NBC News' Eric Baculinao in Beijing contributed to this report.