Chinese officials said Tuesday that the country’s first moon probe will launch in early December, BBC reports, marking a new milestone for the ambitious Chinese space program.
If all goes as planned, the probe will land on the moon mid-December and explore a section known as the “bay of rainbows” for three months.
China sent its first astronaut into space in 2003, and in June sent three astronauts to spend 15 days in orbit and dock at an experimental space laboratory. In 2007, the Chinese also sent an unmanned craft to orbit the moon for 16 months before it was intentionally crashed.
The name for the probe, first announced in August, was determined by online poll: Jade Rabbi, named after the Chinese folklore character that lives on the moon.