China successfully carried out the world's first soft landing of a space probe on the moon in nearly four decades, the country's state media announced on Saturday. The touchdown of the unmanned Chang'e 3 lander is the latest mission in the country's ambitious space programme, which is intended to put a Chinese astronaut on the moon early next decade. The lander – named after a Chinese goddess of the moon – carried a six-wheeled moon-rover called Yutu, or Jade Rabbit, to its landing spot on a flat plain known as the Sinus Iridum, or Bay of Rainbows, after hovering over the surface for several minutes before selecting the best available landing spot. The rover separated from the lander part of the probe eight hours after Saturday's touchdown to embark on a three-month scientific exploration of the moon that will include digging into the lunar soil and carrying out geological surveys. Full Story at The Observer.
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