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China Launches Moon Rover

China has launched a rocket to the moon with a rover aboard that will explore part of the lunar surface.

The "Chang'e-3" rocket blasted off from the Xichang Satellite Launch Center in the southwest of the country on December 1 carrying the "Yutu" (Jade Rabbit) rover.

The rocket is expected to enter lunar orbit on December 6 and make a descent to the moon's surface on December 14.

China is the third country to land a rover on the moon, after the United States and Soviet Union.

The six-wheeled rover will spend some 90 days exploring a 3 to 10 square kilometer area.

The name "Yutu" comes from an ancient Chinese myth about a rabbit living on the moon as the pet of Chang'e, a lunar goddess who swallowed an immortality pill.

Based on reporting by AFP and dpa