Last November, the Chinese lunar probe Yutu-2 spotted something curious on the far side of the moon. The image is blurry, but unmistakable: The object looks like a cube lying on the surface of the moon. Its shape looks too precise to be just a lunar rock – perhaps something left over from visiting aliens like the monolith in Arthur C. Clarke’s “2001: A Space Odyssey.”
China’s space authorities call it a “mystery hut”. Others call it “moon mass”. The Yutu-2 was sent for a closer look, and at the leisurely pace a rider can travel, it took weeks to get close.
On Friday, Our Space, a Chinese science channel affiliated with China’s National Space Administration, posted an update. There are no monoliths, no secret bases on the crater rim. Up close, it turned out to be just a rock. The seemingly perfect geometric shape is just a trick of the angle, light and shadow.
Although the mysterious hut isn’t a hut at all, one of the Earth’s remote riders pointed out that the rock looks like a rabbit, and that one of the rocks in front of it looks a bit like a tuber. carrot. It was fitting that the explorer’s name meant “Jewel Rabbit”.
The rover has now driven more than 1,000 meters since it arrived three years ago on the far side of the moon, in the Von Kármán crater, as part of the Chang’e-4 mission. It was the first mission to land on the far side.
Visual illusions are common throughout the history of space exploration, whether seen by astronomers peering through telescopes on Earth or by robotic explorers on other worlds taking pictures with cameras. Parallel to the rabbit-shaped rock found by the Chinese rover, a NASA Mars rover, Opportunity, discovered what looked like rabbit ears in 2004. Engineers on Earth further analysis shows that it is insulation or other soft material itself fell off the rover.
https://www.nytimes.com/2022/01/07/science/moon-cube-china-rover.html Chinese rover finds moon cube is just a rock like a rabbit