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China attempts rover's soft landing on the moon

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December 14, 2013 12:38 AM EST | AP


BEIJING (AP) — China is attempting the world's first soft landing of a rover on the moon in nearly four decades.

State media say the Chang'e 3 lander is scheduled to touch down at 9:40 p.m. (1340 GMT; 8:40 a.m. EST) Saturday.

After landing, the moon rover called "Jade Rabbit" is slated to separate from the lander and embark on a three-month scientific exploration.

China's space program is an enormous source of pride for the country. If successful, China will become the third country to carry out a lunar soft landing after the United States and Russia.

The Chang'e mission blasted off from southwest China 12 days ago on a Long March-3B carrier rocket.

State television says it will broadcast live footage of the landing.