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China lands space probe on moon

© AFP

Text by FRANCE 24

Latest update : 2013-12-14

A Chinese spacecraft landed on the moon on Saturday, the official state Xinhua news service reported, in the first such “soft-landing” since 1976. China now joins the United States and the former Soviet Union in accomplishing the feat.

State television showed pictures of the moon’s surface as the Chang’e 3 lander touched down Saturday evening.

The lander, named after a lunar goddess in traditional Chinese mythology, carries a moon rover called ”Yutu” or “Jade Rabbit” that will separate from the lander and embark on a three-month scientific exploration.

President Xi Jinping has called for China to establish itself as a space superpower. The ambitious space programme is an enormous source of pride for China, and Beijing plans to eventually land people on the moon.

In China’s most recent manned space mission in June, three astronauts spent 15 days in orbit and docked with an experimental space laboratory, part of Beijing’s quest to build a working space station by 2020.

(FRANCE 24 with AP and REUTERS)
 

Date created : 2013-12-14

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