China Sends First Probe to Moon

Would be 3rd country to successfully 'soft-land'
By Matt Cantor,  Newser User
Posted Dec 1, 2013 3:05 PM CST
The Long March 3B rocket carrying the Chang'e-3 lunar probe is prepared for launch at the Xichang Satellite Launch Center in southwest China's Sichuan province, Sunday, Dec. 1, 2013.   (AP Photo)
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(Newser) – The US and Soviet Union are the only countries to pull off a successful "soft landing" on the moon—but that could be about to change. China has launched its first lunar probe, CNN reports. Its Jade Rabbit lunar rover, which reportedly has six wheels, two legs, and four cameras, aims to explore a plain of hardened lava known as the Bay of Rainbows during the Chang'e-3 mission. The craft launched without a hitch, the New York Times notes, and it's due to arrive in mid-December. A soft landing is one that leaves a craft functional, the Times explains.

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