China’s ‘Jade Rabbit’ makes traces on moon surface

The 140kg rover separated from its lander early Sunday, hours after the probe landed on the moon

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After a safe landing on the moon, China’s first lunar rover, dubbed “Jade Rabbit,” separated from its lander, Chang’e-3, and began making tracks on the moon’s soil, reported Chinese state media.

Chang’e-3 deployed the 140kg Jade Rabbit early Sunday, around seven hours after the space probe touched the earth-facing part of the moon, The Guardian newspaper reported.

The rover and the lander are set to take pictures of each other Sunday evening. Both machines are carrying the Chinese flag, states China’s official news agency, Xinhua.

After the success, China aims to launch its next unmanned lunar probe in 2017, with the aim of collecting and bringing home lunar samples, an official said on Monday.

China, the third country to complete a lunar rover mission after the United States and the then-Soviet Union, plans to establish a permanent space station by 2020, eventually sending humans to the world, added Agence France-Presse.

“One Giant Leap for China,” AFP quoted the headline in Hong Kong’s Sunday Morning Post, evoking the words in 1969 of American astronaut Neil Armstrong, the first man on the moon.

The lunar journey “once again lights up the China Dream,” said a Xinhua editorial citing President Xi Jinping’s slogan for Chinese advancement.

The landing, nearly two weeks after blast-off, was the first of its kind since the former Soviet Union's mission in 1976.

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