China's lunar rover is seen touching lunar soil for the first time last month. Pic: AP.

BEIJING (AP) — China says its first lunar rover is experiencing mechanical problems and may not be able to finish its mission.

The Yutu vehicle began operating last month after making the first soft landing on the moon by a space probe in 37 years. It was designed to roam the lunar surface for three months while surveying natural resources.

The mission has been a major success for China’s space program and the rover has attracted more than 150,000 followers on its microblog.

The mechanical problems appeared to be related to the solar-powered probe’s shutdown for the lunar night, which lasts more than two weeks. The temperature during that time drops to minus 180 degrees Celsius (minus 292 degrees Fahrenheit).

Yutu, or “Jade Rabbit,” is named after a mythological creature.