Beijing: China’s Moon rover ‘Yutu’ has successfully used its mechanical arm to complete its first scientific exploration of the lunar soil.

The rover used its mechanical arm to survey the lunar soil on Tuesday, following instructions from the control center, the Beijing Aerospace Control Center (BACC) said.

The exploration lasted about half an hour and every operation was precisely performed by the rover, it said.

“Accuracy control of the mechanical arm at a distance of 380,000 kilometres has been realised in the probe, making China’s breakthrough in controlling a mechanical arm with high precision on the lunar surface," Wu Fenglei of the BACC was quoted as saying by the state-run Xinhua news agency.

The rover had completed an arm flexing assessment on 23 December, a key test before beginning the soil survey and other work on the surface, said the center in a statement.

The landing of the probe Chang’e-3, with China’s first lunar rover, marked the first time that a soft landing has been made on the Moon in nearly four decades.

Yutu will survey the Moon’s geological structure and surface substances and look for natural resources for three months, while the lander will conduct in-situ exploration at the landing site for a year.

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