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China’s Jade Rabbit rover sends first photos


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YUTU ON THE MOON. The Yutu (Jade Rabbit) moon rover as photographed by the Chang'e moon lander, in an image released by the Beijing Aerospace Control Center.

China’s Jade Rabbit rover vehicle sent back photos from the moon Sunday, December 15, after the first lunar soft landing in nearly four decades marked a huge advance in the country’s ambitious space program. The Yutu, or Jade Rabbit, was deployed at 4:35 am (2035 GMT Saturday, December 14), several hours after the Chang’e-3 probe landed on the moon, said the official news agency Xinhua. The rover and lander began taking photos of each other late Sunday, including one that showed the bright red and yellow stars of the Chinese flag on the Jade Rabbit as it stands on the moon’s surface. The color images were transmitted live to the Beijing Aerospace Control Center, where Chinese President Xi Jinping and Premier Li Keqiang watched the broadcast.

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