China is set to land a robotic rover on the surface of the Moon, a major step in the Asian superpower’s ambitious programme of space exploration.
UPDATE – The lander has successfully landed on the moon.
On Saturday afternoon (GMT), a landing module will undergo a powered descent, using thrusters to perform the first soft landing on the Moon in 37 years.
Several hours later, the lander will deploy a robotic rover called Yutu, which translates as “Jade Rabbit”.
The touchdown will take place on a flat plain called the Bay of Rainbows.
The Chang’e-3 mission launched on a Chinese-developed Long March 3B rocket on 1 December from Xichang in the country’s south.
The Jade Rabbit, seen in this artist’s impression, will be the first wheeled vehicle on the Moon since the 1970s
There are several moon missions and few more moon rovers expected in the next few years.
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