China's Rover Sends First Moon Photos

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China's Jade Rabbit rover sent back its first pictures from the moon, as officials on Monday lauded the first lunar soft landing in nearly four decades as a step forward for "mankind as a whole."

"Exploration of outer space is an unremitting pursuit of mankind," China's space agency, the State Administration of Science, Technology and Industry for National Defense (SASTIND) said in a statement.

The successful mission reflects "the new glory of China to scale the peaks in world science and technology areas," it said, adding it was committed to exploring and using space "for peaceful purposes."

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The space agency also offered to step up cooperation with other countries in the field "to utilize outer space and benefit mankind as a whole."

Images released by China's official news agency Xinhua show the lander, covered in golden foil, standing in the Sinus Iridum or Bay of Rainbows, its solar panels open to generate power.

The silver rover is named Yutu or Jade Rabbit after the pet of Chang'e, the goddess of the moon in Chinese mythology.

The imprints of its tracks in the dark soil of the lunar surface can clearly be seen after it rotated to proudly display a red Chinese flag to the camera.

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