Tuesday, January 18, 2022

Curious cube-shaped ‘hut’ on moon just another rock

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A curious cube-like object photographed on the far side of the moon by China’s Yutu 2 lunar rover has been identified. It’s just a rock.

Capturing the internet’s curiosity in December, a hazy image of the object was first released by Our Space, a Chinese-language blog affiliated with the China National Space Administration.

Our Space dubbed it the “mysterious hut.” Yutu 2, which means “Jade Rabbit,” slowly navigated around rugged craters to reach the object. The nearly 60-metre journey took about a month.

“A lifelike rabbit came into view,” Our Space wrote in a Jan. 7 update. “The scattered stones in front of the ‘Jade Rabbit’ looked like a carrot, and the round stone beads behind the ‘Jade Rabbit’ looked like the product of the ‘Jade Rabbit’ after a meal.”

In other words, the imaginative folks at Our Space likened a bunch of ordinary moon rocks to the rover’s floppy-eared namesake, its dinner and the aftermath. Dashing hopes of alien monoliths, it was no strange trip on the far side of the moon.

Yutu 2 is the first lunar rover to explore the moon’s so-called dark side, which gets plenty of sunlight but largely can’t be seen from earth. The rover has covered just over 1,000 metres of terrain since landing in Jan. 2019.

Orbiting Mars in 1976, the Viking 1 spacecraft captured what appeared to be a human-like face on the Martian surface. Later photos revealed a rock formation. For those hoping to find traces of life in our galaxy, NASA’s new James Webb Space Telescope, launched in Dec. 2021, is expected to provide unprecedented data about planets circling other stars. ​

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