The Chang'e-4 lunar probe mission blasted off on a Long March 3B rocket from Xichang Satellite Launch Center in southwest China in the pre-dawn hours on Saturday, according to the official Xinhua news agency. The craft also carry three cameras and a mini biosphere for a first-ever test of photosynthesis and respiration in the low-gravity lunar environment.
Once on the moon's surface, the rover faces an array of extreme challenges.
The probe would be the first to successfully land on the far side of the moon.
The 140 kg Chang'e-4 rover. It demonstrates the competitiveness of the country's space programme on the worldwide scene.
If successful, the Chang-e 4 will unlock valuable clues to the mysteries about the moon and the universe. "Odds of the next voice transmission from the Moon being in Mandarin are high".
The objective of the mission is to deliver samples of lunar soil to Earth.
China aims to catch up with Russian Federation and the United States to become a major space power by 2030.
China has promoted global cooperation in its lunar exploration program, with four scientific payloads of the Chang'e-4 mission developed by scientists from Netherlands, Germany, Sweden and Saudi Arabia.
China is also aiming to have a fully operational permanent space station by 2022, as the future of the International Space Station remains in doubt due to uncertain funding and complicated politics.
China's latest mission closely follows the touchdown of NASA's InSight spacecraft on Mars on Monday, at a site less than 400 miles (640 kilometers) from the American rover Curiosity, the only other working robot on Mars. US President Donald Trump instructed his government past year to put a new space station into lunar orbit.
She suggested that combining military preparedness with diplomatic efforts would best deter perceived threats in space from all sides but added that "unfortunately, the United States has not shown interest in diplomatic leadership regarding space security". "The US sees pretty much everything China does in space - including things the US has done in space - as threatening".