A Chinese rover exploring the dark side of the Moon has stumbled across a strange object and it could take months to figure out what it is.
A mysterious cuboid-like object just discovered on the far side of the Moon is causing scientists to collectively scratch their heads.
The seemingly bizarre structure was spotted by the China-launched rover Yutu-2, which is slowly making its way into the hitherto unexplored Von Karmann crater located in the satellite’s southern hemisphere.
An image taken by Yutu-2 and examined by the mission team last week shows a distinctive nearly square object on the horizon.
Scientists have dubbed Location Object the “mystery hut” because if it resembles a cabin.
The blog’s authors said that Yutu-2’s Earth-based drivers were examining images sent back by the rover when “suddenly, an intruding cube on the northern horizon caught their attention”.
“This object pierced through the swirl of the horizon, like a ‘mysterious hut’.”
Measurements have suggested that the object is about 80 meters away from the rover.
Yutu-2 will now head towards the object for further investigation.
It’s not going to be a fast journey though. The rover’s progress is deliberately slow and steady to avoid falling into the crater or hitting rocks.
It may not even work during lunar nights which last for about 14 Earth days.
That is, it may take two to three months to reach the moon’s cabin.
“Was this the house built by aliens after the crash landing? Or is it the pioneer spacecraft of its predecessors to explore the Moon?” Our Space Blog speculated.
But scientists believe it is most likely a large boulder thrown from the surface of the Moon by a meteorite impact.
Yutu-2, which means “Jade Rabbit” reached the Moon in January 2019 aboard the Chang’e-4 lander spacecraft.
It toucheddown on the 180-km-wide Von Karmann Carter near the Moon’s south pole, and the rover has spent the past two years exploring its local surroundings.
Yutu-2 is powered by solar panels and lasts longer than any other lunar rover.
Its mission is to explore the far side of the Moon. It is the hemisphere of the Moon that is always farthest from Earth and therefore can only be examined from space.
Chang’e-4 was the first spacecraft to successfully land on the far side of the Moon.