China launches ‘Jade Rabbit’ rover to moon, precursor to manned mission

By Simon Denyer, December 2, 2013

BEIJING — China took a significant step toward eventually landing a person on the moon with Monday’s successful launch of a rocket carrying its first moon rover, the “Jade Rabbit.”

The rocket blasted off from southwestern China at 1:30 a.m. Monday, a day after India’s maiden Mars mission left Earth’s orbit on its journey to the Red Planet, in what some observers characterize as Asia’s new space race.

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