In December, China’s national space agency shared a mysterious image taken by the Yutu 2 lunar rover which has been scouring the dark side of the moon since 2019. The picture showed an out-of-place structure that stumped experts due to its symmetry and flat roof – with the space agency joking it could be an alien abode
A suspicious-looking structure photographed on the moon by a Chinese rover isn’t an alien abode – it’s just a small rock shaped like a rabbit.
After China’s lunar Yutu 2 rover snapped a mysterious cube-shaped blur on the moon’s horizon in December, researchers from China National Space Administration’s (CNSA) outreach program Our Space joked it could be a ” moon hut “.
But now the object has been photographed up-close and the images beamed back to earth – and it’s just a rock.
At the time, its out-of-place symmetry and flat roof sent the internet into overdrive, with some speculating it could be alien abode.”
Experts had suggested it could have been a slab of rubble that broke off as debris after a space impact.
The team in charge of the Yutu 2 Rover dubbed the rock “Jade Rabbit” due to its appearance and because the Chinese word “Yutu” translates to “jade rabbit”.
The Chinese Yutu 2 mission is the first in history to survey the side of the moon which is always out of sight from the earth.
The rover took just one month to arrive on the moon’s surface in January 2019 after being launched in December 2018.
The explorer – which is powered by the sun – landed in the Von Karman crater – part of the Aitken Basin located at the satellite’s southern pole.
The CSNA said the machine, which periodically shuts down until the sun is out, was clocking speeds of 656ft-per-hour as it made the long journey to investigate the blur.
Chinese space officials also shared its drive diary, which shows how the team navigate craters as they move over the surface of the rock.
Around nine months after its landing, the rover discovered a strange “gel-like” substance on the far side of the Moon.
The substance, which is described as having “fascinating colours” and a “mysterious lustre”, was found at the bottom of a small, recent impact crater.