HONG KONG — China on Saturday became the third country to steer a spacecraft onto the moon, after its unmanned Chang’e-3 probe settled onto the Bay of Rainbows, state-run television reported.
The United States and the Soviet Union are the other countries to have accomplished so-called “soft” landings on the moon — in which a craft can work after landing — and 37 years have passed since the last such mission.
The successful arrival of the Chang’e-3 after a 13-day journey from Earth was reported on Chinese state television. At the time of the last soft landing, by the Soviet Union in 1976, Mao Zedong was a month from death and China was in the twilight of his chaotic Cultural Revolution. Full story for BostonGlobe.com subscribers.