The Chinese National Space Agency is investigating what it calls a “mysterious hut” discovered on the moon by their “Yutu 2” rover in October.
The CNSA’s outreach program Our Space posted an image of the rover to Weixin for the first time on December 3. The Yutu 2 rover took the image of the object, which appears to be shaped like a cube, as it was traversing the moon’s Von Karman crater. Our Space posted a lengthy journal entry describing the discovery of the mysterious object:
“Suddenly, an obtrusive cube on the northern skyline attracted their attention. This object pierced through the winding of the skyline, like a “mysterious hut” that appeared out of thin air. There was a large “baby” impact crater beside it. Was it a home built by aliens after the crash landing? Or is it the pioneer spacecraft of the predecessors to explore the moon?”
Despite the posts fanciful jokes about the true identity of the square-shaped objects, experts predict that the “hut” is something much more banal than alien technology: it is likely to be a boulder, of which there are many across the moon’s landscape.
We will know for sure once the team reaches the object two to three months from now:
“After measurement, the “mysterious hut” on the horizon is about 80 meters away from the current location, and it is expected to reach the destination after two to three months of trekking. We have no way of knowing what the end of the universe is, but what is the end of the sky is still worth looking forward to in the coming months.”
VIPER Moon rover will traverse crater on Moon’s south pole
NASA plans on expanding its own exploration of the moon during this decade. The space agency selected a landing site for its next major rover mission on the moon, “VIPER.”
VIPER is an acronym for Volatiles Investigating Polar Exploration Rover. NASA has now selected the exact crater the vehicle will spend 100 days traversing after it reaches the Moon in 2023.
VIPER will arrive on the Moon’s south pole and explore the 45-mile-wide Nobile crater there. Nobile was created after an object impacted the surface of the Moon. The crater — which is permanently cloaked in shadow — is one of the single coldest areas in the entirety of our solar system.
“The rover is going to get up close and personal with the lunar soil, even drilling several feet down, which will totally help us redefine what we know about our moon,” Lori Glaze, the director of NASA’s planetary science division, said during a teleconference held on Monday.
NASA selected Nobile after considering “critical parameters, such as Earth visibility — for communications from the moon to Earth — sunlight terrain that’s well suited for the rover to navigate through, and most importantly, of course, the expected presence of ice and other resources,” said Glaze.