China to land a probe on the Moon this year

August 29, 2013

One of NASA’s twin Grail spacecraft has returned its first unique picture of the far side of the moon, an image that shows shadowed craters at the moon’s south pole. (Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech)

China announced Wednesday that it plans to put a rover on the Moon by the end of the year, Forbes reports.

The Chang’e-3 Lunar probe will include a six-wheeled lunar rover, which will work on the surface for about three months.

If the mission is successful, China will then begin phase 3 of its Lunar exploration program, which will involve a rover to be sent to the Moon in 2017, where it will collect samples from the Moon’s surface and then return to Earth.

After that, China will begin its next step — landing humans on the Moon. [...]