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Patrick Stewart keeps China's 'Jade Rabbit' rover hopping

One of the greatest actors of our time dons some cardboard to pay tribute to one very disappointing robot.

"Goodnight, humanity..."
Video screenshot by Eric Mack/CNET

The success of China's historic unmanned mission to the moon may be short-lived, as it appears the country's "Jade Rabbit" lunar rover may be facing terminal technical difficulties.

Yet while the "Made in China" moon robot may not outlast the warranty of a vacuum cleaner probably made in a nearby factory, it has at least served as the inspiration that motivated one of the great geek thespians of our time to don a few cardboard boxes and give one epic farewell performance as Jade Rabbit itself.

Yes, Patrick Stewart may have taught a generation of nerds what leadership looks like in his classic role as Jean-Luc Picard on "Star Trek: The Next Generation," but his Jade Rabbit monologue on "The Daily Show" Tuesday was powerful enough to evoke both laughter and tears.

Jade Rabbit encountered technical problems almost immediately after landing on the moon, and is now going into a hibernation mode that it may never wake up from as it spends a little time on the dark side of the satellite, in more ways than one.

The troubled bot has elicited an outpouring of support and weird anthropomorphization from the Chinese people. Naturally, the rover has also been responding to its fans via social media, and Stewart presents a reading of what could be Jade Rabbit's final words.

Give it a look, and don't forget to pour one out for Jade Rabbit, Spirit, and all our other dead (or near-dead) interplanetary robot homies.

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