- The Washington Times - Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Chalk up another space gain for the Chinese, who have stated in recent months their goal is to become the leader of the world in galaxy exploration in the coming decades. The nation announced Tuesday it would launch its first lunar probe this December — just a decade after sending its first astronaut into space, CNN reported.

The Chang’e-3 probe will depart from a based in Sichuan province, in the southwest region of China. And it will touch down on the surface of the moon by mid-December, China said, CNN reported.

A spokesman for the nation’s State Administration of Science, Technology and Industry for National Defense said the mission, which is unmanned, would make national history because it reflects a first for the country in terms of making a successful soft-landing on the lunar surface, CNN said.

The spacecraft will release Jade Rabbit — Yutu in Chinese — onto the moon’s surface. The six-wheeled rover will roam for three months, snapping photos and digging up soil samples, China’s official state-run media, Xinhua, reported.

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