Associated Press BEIJING (AP) -- State media say China has safely carried out the world's first soft landing of a space probe on the moon in nearly four decades.

State television showed pictures of the moon's surface as the Chang'e 3 lander touched down Saturday evening.

The lander carries a moon rover called "Jade Rabbit" that will separate from the lander and embark on a three-month scientific exploration.

China is 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.

China's ambitious space program is an enormous source of pride for the country. China plans to eventually land people on the moon.