According to an August 28, 2013 Associated Press story, China has announced that it will launch its Chang’e 3 probe to execute the first lunar landing since the 1970s. It will be an unmanned vehicle, deploying a rover that will return images to Earth and dig samples from the lunar surface for examination.
There is no indication where on the lunar surface the Chang’e 3 will land. But a previous report suggested that Sinus Iridum, Mare Nectaris, Mare Humorum, Kepler crater, and Aristillus crater were under consideration, with Sunus Iridum being favored by Chinese space planners.
Chang’e 3 already follows two previous Chinese lunar probes which orbited the moon. The Chinese are also planning to land a sample return probe that would gather a lunar soil sample and then return it to Earth.
China is contemplating becoming only the second country to land people on the lunar surface, a mission that would take place in the 2020s. The United States had its own return to the moon program, Constellation, that was abruptly cancelled by President Obama in 2010. However NASA is preparing for an early September launch of LADEE, a lunar orbiter that will study the moon’s thin atmosphere and lunar dust.