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China’s Jade Rabbit Moon rover sends back first photos

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The first robot to land on the Moon in nearly 40 years, China’s Jade Rabbit rover, has begun sending back photos, with shots of its lunar lander.

Jade Rabbit rolled down a ramp lowered by the lander and on to the volcanic plain known as Sinus Iridum at 04:35 Beijing time on Saturday (20:35 GMT).

It moved to a spot a few metres away, its historic short journey recorded by the lander.

On Sunday evening the two machines began photographing each other.

A Chinese flag is clearly visible on the Jade Rabbit as it stands deployed on the Moon’s surface.

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Ma Xingrui, chief commander of China’s lunar programme, declared the mission a “complete success”.

The first soft landing on the Moon since 1976 is the latest step in China’s ambitious space programme, says BBC science reporter Paul Rincon.

The lander will operate there for a year, while the rover is expected to work for some three months.

The Chang’e-3 mission landed some 12 days after being launched atop a Chinese-developed Long March 3B rocket from Xichang in the country’s south.

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China’s Jade Rabbit Moon rover sends back first photos

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