China will attempt the world's first soft landing of a rover on the moon in nearly four decades Saturday, the latest step in the country's ambitious space program.
The Chang'e 3 lander, named after a mythical Chinese goddess of the moon, is scheduled to touch down at 9:40 p.m. (1340 GMT; 8:40 a.m. EST) Saturday, according to state media.
The lander carries a moon rover called "Yutu," or "Jade Rabbit," the goddess' pet. After landing, the rover is slated to separate from the Chang'e and embark on a three-month scientific exploration.
China's space program is an enormous source of pride for the country. If successful, China will become the third country to carry out a lunar soft landing after the United States and the former Soviet Union. The last one was in 1976.