Chinese lunar probe lands on moon - report

SHANGHAI Sat Dec 14, 2013 8:20am EST

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SHANGHAI Dec 14 (Reuters) - A Chinese spacecraft landed on the moon on Saturday, the official Xinhua news service reported, in the first such "soft-landing" since 1976, joining the United States and the former Soviet Union in managing to accomplish such a feat.

The Chang'e 3, a probe named after a lunar goddess in traditional Chinese mythology, is carrying the solar-powered Yutu, or Jade Rabbit rover, which will dig and conduct geological surveys.

In China's most recent manned space mission in June, three astronauts spent 15 days in orbit and docked with an experimental space laboratory, part of Beijing's quest to build a working space station by 2020. (Reporting by Pete Sweeney)

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