NASA share the preparation ahead of Artemis I's moon launch
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The Yutu-2 rover has been exploring the far side of the Moon since early 2019 as part of China’s Chang’e-4 lunar lander mission. It recently spotted a mysterious cube-shaped object in the distance. After catching a glimpse of the baffling object, the rover team drove over to take a closer look. After burning speculation, it turned out that the “mystery hut” was nothing more than a rock.
But it had sparked a wave of curiosity when it was first noticed.
Andrew Jones, a journalist who covers the Chinese space programme, wrote on Twitter: “Ah. We have an update from Yutu-2 on the lunar far side, including an image of a cubic shape on the northern horizon -80m away from the rover in Von Kármán crater.
“Referred to as “神秘小屋” (“mystery house”), the next 2-3 lunar days will be spent getting closer to check it out.”
But even though a rock was all that was found, Mr Jones was not disheartened.
He described the conclusion to the saga as “so underwhelming it’s brilliant”.
He wrote again on Twitter: “Oh, this is amazing.
“Close to tears. Ourspace has published an update on the “mystery hut” and it’s so underwhelming it’s brilliant.
“It’s just a small rock on a crater rim that they’re now calling “jade rabbit” for its appearance.”
The cube-shaped “hut” was a small lumpy rock sitting on a crater rim.
But it happened to look much bigger and more mysterious in the rover’s original image.
It was only after getting closer and getting a better perspective that the rover was able to unveil the object’s true form.
The rock’s huddled shape has now led it to be dubbed “jade rabbit”.
This is because it looks a bit like a bunny rabbit crouching down with a couple of carrots in front of it.
And as the Yutu-2 rover’s name translates to Jade Rabbit, it is almost as if the rover has found its own mascot on the Moon.
Yutu-2 works on solar power, so it periodically hibernates until the Sun comes back out.
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This is why it took a bit of time to move closer to the “mystery hut” for a better look.
The Yutu-2 rover mission is the first to explore the Moon’s far side and it has been rolling along for three years since it first landed.
This part of the Moon is scattered with impact craters, which can feature hefty amounts of chunky debris.
It is now due to assess the area around the jade rabbit rock.
It is hoped that it should be able to get some even better images.
According to China Daily, Yutu-2 has already travelled 2,756 feet (840 meters) across the Moon.
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