China Blasts 'Jade Rabbit' to the Moon
The solar-powered rover will survey the moon's geological structures. It will also set up a telescope to survey the surface and observe the Earth's plasmasphere, a region of dense, cold plasma that surrounds the planet, Xinhua said.
China sent its first astronaut into space in 2003, becoming the third nation after Russia and the United States to achieve manned space travel independently. China has already said its eventual goals are to have a space station and put an astronaut on the moon.
The military-backed space program is a source of enormous national pride and has powered ahead in a series of well-funded, methodically timed steps. It has already made major breakthroughs in a relatively short time, although it lags far behind the United States and Russia in space technology and experience.
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