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China lands on the moon

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Staff writer |
China moonChina's lunar probe Chang'e-3 landed on the moon, marking the first time that China has sent a spacecraft to soft land on the surface of an extraterrestrial body.

State television showed pictures of the moon's surface as the Chang'e 3 lander touched down. The lander carries a moon rover Jade Rabbit that will separate from the lander and go on a three-month scientific exploration. China is the third country to carry out a lunar soft landing after the United States and the former Soviet Union.

The Chang'e-3 mission is the second phase of China's lunar program, which includes orbiting, landing and returning to Earth. It follows the success of the Chang'e-1 and Chang'e-2 missions in 2007 and 2010.

Chinese scientists have made technological breakthroughs for the Chang'e-3 mission, which will be the most complicated and difficult task in the country's space exploration, the state-run Xinhua news agency quoted the science body's spokesman Wu Zhijian as saying. Mr. Wu said more than 80 percent of the technologies adopted in the mission were new.

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