Found a mysterious cube on the far side of the Moon

Found a mysterious cube on the far side of the Moon

In its exploration of the Von Kármán crater on the far side of the moon, the Chinese rover Yutu 2 spotted a particular object on the horizon. In a very blurry image, there appears to be a cube-shaped protrusion in an otherwise relatively featureless landscape.

In a post on the Weixin social network, the China National Space Administration's outreach program Our Space claims it is referred to as a "mysterious hut". "Was it a house built by aliens after the emergency landing?" the post jokingly speculates. "Or is it the pioneering spacecraft of its predecessors to explore the Moon?" The answer is that probably none of these things are true, but that it is simply a rock. We won't know for sure, however, until Yutu 2 is able to approach a distance of about 80 meters to study it closely, a process that will take another two or three months.

credits: CNSA / Our Space

This is partly due to the fact that the solar-powered rover has to shut down for the duration of the lunar night, which lasts two weeks, as well as when the Sun is directly above it, to avoid overheating; and partly because the rover needs to travel slowly, moving across dangerous, rubble-strewn, cratered lunar terrain. Although we will have to wait, there are clues that offer possible solutions to the identity of the cube, namely a relatively cool impact crater nearby. This suggests that the object could be a boulder excavated during the impact, a phenomenon previously observed on the Moon.

A closer look at the "mystery hut" will be able to tell us something about the Moon. If it is a boulder that emerged from beneath the lunar surface, it could help us understand something about the composition of the moon beneath the top layer of rock and rubble. So the CNSA scientists are certainly keen to take a closer look at it.

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