Africa-Press – Sierra-Leone. As China’s Yutu-2 lunar rover spotted a peculiar shape, dubbed the “moon cube,” late last year, according to Andrew Jones, a journalist who had covered Beijing’s space programme for several years. On 3 December he posted pictures captured by the rover in the Von Kármán crater on the far side of the Moon.
The enigmatic “Moon rock” discovery made by China’s Yutu-2 lunar rover in early December, which triggered speculations that it might be an “alien” house or spacecraft, is apparently no longer a mystery. After several weeks of driving, the rover has come close enough to discover that the “mysterious hut” is, in fact, a rock.
In an updated post on Friday, Our Space – a Chinese language science outreach channel affiliated with the China National Space Administration (CNSA) – published the rover’s latest photo of the object that had appeared to be sharp-lined in geometric appearance on the horizon. Most likely, the latter had been simply a trick of perspective, light, and shadow.
It was noted that the rock was shaped like a rabbit, with smaller rocks in front of it suggested as resembling a carrot. The rock has now been dubbed the “Jade Rabbit”, after the name of the rover.
In January 2019, China became the first nation to land a rover on the far side of the Moon, permanently hidden from Earth. The solar-powered Yutu 2 and Chang’e 4 lander touched down on 3 January 2019. Since then, the rover has been rolling through the 115-mile-wide (186 kilometers) Von Kármán crater.
Yutu 2 rover spotted the mystery object – a gray “cube” – looming on the horizon roughly 260 feet (80 meters) away in November 2021 during the mission’s 36th lunar day, according to Our Space. It was referred to as a “mystery hut”.
The CNSA estimated the rover would take two or three months to reach the cube, as Yutu-2, albeit designed to move at a maximum speed of 200 metres per hour, in reality, does not traverse the terrain at full speed.
Furthermore, the craft also makes stops to conduct research, and it has to halt its operations when it becomes too cold during the lunar night. The world’s most long-lived lunar rover, as of December 2021, Yutu-2 has travelled a distance of 840 metres (2,760 ft) along the surface of the Moon.