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China Launches First Lunar Rover Mission 

ChinaFotoPress via Getty Images(BEIJING) -- China launched its first unmanned probe Monday morning, marking a milestone for the country's space program.

The robotic lunar rover, nicknamed Jade Rabbit, is due to land on the moon in two weeks to collect data. If successful, China will be the third nation to do so, after the U.S. and former Soviet Union.

China's space program, which was started in 2002, is believed to be used to boost the country's science, satellite and military capabilities.
Future space plans include a mission to bring samples of lunar soil back to Earth.

The rover's name comes from an ancient Chinese myth about a rabbit living on the moon as a pet of a lunar goddess, according to the BBC.

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