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