Open

Coming up

Don't miss

Replay


LATEST SHOWS

ENCORE!

Forget Harry Potter, Jeff Kinney's 'Diary of a Wimpy Kid' sells millions

Read more

FOCUS

Child migrants: no parents, no passports

Read more

AFRICA NEWS

Thousands flee Libya and Nigeria to seek refuge in Niger

Read more

INSIDE THE AMERICAS

Sony Pictures reels from cyber-attack

Read more

MEDIAWATCH

"Todos somos Americanos"

Read more

IN THE PAPERS

Cuba-USA: 'A roll of the dice'

Read more

IN THE PAPERS

The 'Caribbean Wall' is starting to crumble

Read more

WEB NEWS

Sydney siege: Australians show solidarity with Muslims

Read more

ENCORE!

"Charlie's Country" director Rolf de Heer on the contemporary Aboriginal condition

Read more

Asia-pacific

China launches its first lunar rover mission

© AFP

Text by FRANCE 24

Latest update : 2013-12-01

China on Monday launched its first ever moon rover mission, becoming the third nation to do so as the country advances its ambitious space programme.

China on Monday launched its first ever lunar rover, marking a milestone development in the country's ambitious space exploration programme, state TV showed.

The Chang'e Three rocket carrying the unmanned buggie took off at around 1.30 a.m. (Sunday 0530 GMT), the CCTV official broadcaster showed in live footage from the Xichang Satellite Launch Center in China's southwest.

The "Jade Rabbit" vehicle, named after a rabbit in Chinese folklore that lives on the moon as lunar goddess Chang’e’s pet, will be the world’s third rover mission to land on the moon, with both the United States and the former Soviet Union having done so previously.

The mission is aimed at exploring the moon’s surface and to look for rare metals.

Advancing China's space programme has been a priority for the leadership, with President Xi Jinping calling for China to establish itself as a space superpower. Scientists have discussed the possibility of building a space station by 2020 and then sending a man to the moon.

Beijing insists its space programme is for peaceful purposes, but the US Defence Department has highlighted China's increasing space capabilities and said it was pursuing a variety of activities aimed at preventing its adversaries from using space-based assets during a crisis.

(FRANCE 24 with AFP)

Date created : 2013-12-01

  • UNITED STATES

    NASA launches spacecraft to study Mars atmosphere

    Read more

  • SPACE

    ISS astronauts make rare emergency spacewalk

    Read more

  • JAPAN

    Kirobo the talking robot rockets into space

    Read more

COMMENT(S)