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China announces rover landing on moon’s far side, a first for mankind

The side of the moon that never faces Earth has been breached. China announced on Wednesday that its rover had touched down on the far side of the moon, a first for humanity.

While the U.S. and Russia have sent astronauts to the side of the moon that faces us, and numerous probes as well, no one has ever managed to land on the other side. As such this represents a significant achievement, experts said.

China Central Television (CCTV) briefly reported the news at the top of its noon broadcast, the Associated Press said, noting that the landing had happened at 10:26 a.m.

There was some confusion at the outset, because shortly before that the state media outlets China Daily and China Global Television Network (CGTN) had pronounced the mission a success in tweets that were immediately deleted, CNN and The New York Times reported. The official word came down at 8 p.m. PT from CCTV, CNET said.

The rocket had taken off on Dec. 8 (Dec. 7 here) containing a lunar lander and a six-wheeled rover, according to CNET. It entered lunar orbit on Dec. 12.

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