BEIJING—China is attempting the world's first soft landing of a rover on the moon in nearly four decades.

State media say the Chang'e 3 lander is scheduled to touch down at 9:40 p.m. (1340 GMT; 8:40 a.m. EST) Saturday.

After landing, the moon rover called "Jade Rabbit" is slated to separate from the lander 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 Russia.

The Chang'e mission blasted off from southwest China 12 days ago on a Long March-3B carrier rocket.

State television says it will broadcast live footage of the landing.