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Ashley Yeager
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China’s first moon-landing mission blasts off

The Chang’e 3 lunar lander and Yutu rover blasted toward the moon atop a modified Long March 3B rocket.

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The unmanned Chang’e-3 lunar lander and Yutu rover rocketed toward the moon on December 1 at 12:30 p.m. EST from China’s Xichang Satellite Launch Center. It is the country’s first attempt at landing a spacecraft on the moon.

If the mission operates as planned, the Chang’e-3 lander will touch down on the moon’s surface in mid-December and become the first spacecraft to land on the lunar surface in 37 years.

The mission’s rover Yutu, or Jade Rabbit, will then roll along the lunar surface to study the moon’s structure.

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