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China Deploys Moon Rover

A rocket, carrying the "Chang'e-3" lunar probe, blasts off from a launch pad in China on December 2.
China says it has successfully deployed its first rover vehicle on the surface of the moon.

The state-run Xinhua News Agency said the rover, called "Yutu," or "Jade Rabbit," separated from the lander early on December 15, several hours after the "Chang'e-3" probe soft-landed.

The reported deployment makes China the third country, after the United States and former Soviet Union, to carry out a rover mission on the moon.

It is the first landing of its kind since a Soviet mission nearly 40 years ago.

Xinhua released an image, apparently taken from the lander, showing the rover leaving tracks in the lunar dust as it rolled away.

China says the rover, controlled by humans on Earth, will survey the moon's surface for the next three months.

Based on reporting by AFP and