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China attempts rover's soft landing on the moon

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BEIJING (AP) - China is attempting the world's first soft landing of a rover on the moon in nearly four decades.

State media say the Chang'e 3 lander is scheduled to touch down at 9:40 p.m. (1340 GMT; 8:40 a.m. EST) Saturday.

After landing, the moon rover called "Jade Rabbit" is slated to separate from the lander and embark on a three-month scientific exploration.

China's space program is an enormous source of pride for the country. If successful, China will become the third country to carry out a lunar soft landing after the United States and Russia.

The Chang'e mission blasted off from southwest China 12 days ago on a Long March-3B carrier rocket.

State television says it will broadcast live footage of the landing.

(Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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