China Becomes 3rd Country to 'Soft Land' on Moon

Completes first soft landing of a space probe in nearly 40 years

By Newser Editors and Wire Services

Posted Dec 14, 2013 7:34 AM CST

(Newser) – State media say China has safely carried out the world's first soft landing of a space probe on the moon in nearly four decades. State television showed pictures of the moon's surface as the Chang'e 3 lander touched down tonight. The lander carries a moon rover called "Jade Rabbit" that will separate from the lander and embark on a three-month scientific exploration. China is the third country to carry out a lunar soft landing after the United States and the former Soviet Union. The last one was in 1976. (In other space news today, Iran says it's launched its second monkey into space.)

The Earth casts its shadow across the moon's surface during the lunar eclipse as seen from Portland, Ore., Saturday, Dec. 10, 2011.
The Earth casts its shadow across the moon's surface during the lunar eclipse as seen from Portland, Ore., Saturday, Dec. 10, 2011.   (AP Photo/Rick Bowmer)
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