China’s first lunar rover enters orbit

December 07, 2013 - 7:19:12 am
BEIJING: China’s first lunar rover entered the moon’s orbit yesterday, state media reported, a key step towards the vessel’s planned landing later this month.

The rover — known as Yutu, or Jade Rabbit — reached lunar orbit late yesterday, the official Xinhua news agency said, about 112 hours after it was launched from the Xichang Satellite Launch Center in southwestern China.

It is expected to touch down on the moon in mid-December to explore its surface and search for natural resources.

The Chang’e-3 mission will make China the third country to land a rover on the moon, following the United States and the former Soviet Union decades ago. 

China sees its space programme as a symbol of its growing international status and technological advancement, as well as of the Communist Party’s success in reversing the fortunes of the once impoverished nation. 

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