According to media reports, China’s Yutu 2 rover has discovered a mysterious object on the horizon while traversing the Von Karman crater on the moon’s far side.
According to a Yutu 2 diary broadcast by Our Space, a Chinese language scientific outreach channel linked with the China National Space Administration (CNSA), Yutu 2 saw a cube-shaped object on the horizon to the north and around 80 metres away in November during the mission’s 36th lunar day.
According to the analysis, a big boulder excavated by an impact event is a possible explanation for the shape. The item was referred to as a “mystery hut” by Our Space, however, this was a placeholder label rather than an actual description.
Andrew Jones, a writer for Space News and Space.com who covers the Chinese space programmed, noted a new rover update. With that, he started a series of Twitter threads over the name of the “cube-shaped object’s moniker” that implies “mystery hut.” The aforementioned cube is located in the Kármán crater.
China’s space agency revealed stunning images from the Yutu-2 lunar rover this week. The rover crew, on the other hand, plans to drive over to the object and take a closer look, exactly as they did before.
Because Yutu-2’s view of the cube is hazy and distant, the true nature of the object should emerge as the rover approaches.
“It’s not an obelisk or a foreign item, but it’s definitely worth checking out,” Jones added in a follow-up tweet. He thinks the object is a boulder shattered by an asteroid collision. He also posted a snapshot of a previously discovered strongly defined boulder on the Moon’s surface.
Yutu 2 will travel traversing the lunar regolith and avoiding craters for the next 2-3 lunar days (2-3 Earth months) to get a closer look, so expect updates.
On January 2, 2019, the Chang’e 4 lander carrying the Yutu 2 rover landed in Von Karman Crater, and the solar-powered rover completed 1,000 days on the Moon in September.
The rover has also passed past the Von Karman crater, which is 186 kilometres long.
Chang’e 4 is China’s fourth moon mission and the second to transport a rover to the lunar surface. Chang’e 1 and 2 were orbiters, whereas Chang’e 3 landed on the moon’s near side with the first Yutu rover. According to the article, China has also launched the Chang’e 5 T1 test flight around the moon as well as the Chang’e 5 moon sample return mission.
Yutu-2 is a robotic lunar rover that was launched as part of China’s Chang’e 4 lunar mission. It became live at 18:23 UTC on December 7, 2018. It entered lunar orbit on December 12, 2018, and made the first soft landing on the Moon’s far side on January 3, 2019, to become the first lunar rover on the far side. It is already functioning as the first lunar rover on the far side.
So far, the rover has travelled around 900 metres across the Moon’s dark side. The Yutu-2 is fueled by solar energy, thus when the surface where the robot is positioned becomes dark and the energy runs out, the robot goes into “hibernation” until the Sun shines again.
The Chang’e-4 mission is the first surface exploration of the moon’s far side by humans. Thanks to the rover’s efforts, scientists have learnt a lot about what’s going on beneath the surface of the moon.