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Chinese Moon Rover Begins 3-Month Mission

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China's first lunar rover has begun a three-month scientific exploration of the moon's surface, after successfully deploying from an unmanned spacecraft Saturday.

The soft landing of the six-wheeled solar-powered rover, dubbed "Jade Rabbit" , dominated Chinese news headlines and state television Saturday, after a 13-day journey from Earth.

The mission has been widely touted in official media as evidence of the country's growing scientific stature. Chinese television showed jubilant engineers at the mission control center in Beijing hugging and photographing one another with cell phones, moments after the unmanned Chang'e-3 spacecraft touched down.

China is the third country to carry out a soft lunar landing, after the United States and the former Soviet Union. The last such landing occurred in 1976.

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