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On December 1, 2014, China sent its first robotic lunar rover, named Jade Rabbit (Yutu, part of the Chang’e-3 mission). It would be the first soft landing on the Moon since 1976, by a Soviet probe; no American soft landings have taken place since the last Apollo manned mission in 1972. (The Chang’e missions are discussed in Section 6.2b, p. 133.)

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Credit: China Daily via Reuters

The Jade Rabbit rover is a solar-powered six-wheeled vehicle, similar to NASA’s Mars rovers. It will spend three months exploring and collecting data. A future mission that could take place in several years would be intended to bring back rocks and other samples from the Moon.

Link: NY Times article.

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