The Chinese moon rover “Yutu-2” discovers a mysterious structure on the horizon. Now the rover has moved closer and disenchants the mystery.
Update from Wednesday, January 12th, 2022, 10.30 a.m .: A gray, cube-shaped structure on the horizon could be seen in December 2021 in pictures that the Chinese rover “Yutu-2” sent from the moon to earth. Now the rover has moved closer to the mysterious object in order to examine it more closely. Since the first recordings, rover “Yutu” has moved about 100 meters closer to the object, according to the “Our Space” blog. “Our Space” belongs to the Chinese space organization CNSA, which controls the rover. According to the information, it will take another two to three months for “Yutu-2” to reach the stone.
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However, the rover is now close enough to recognize that the “mysterious house”, as the stone was called after the first recordings, is just a stone. And not even a particularly cube-shaped stone, this impression was evidently created by an interplay of perspective, light and shadow on the moon.
China’s moon mission solves the mystery of the “mysterious house”
In the new images of the mysterious object, the rover’s control team apparently sees a stone shaped like a rabbit, with stones in front of it that represent a carrot for the control team. That is why the experts call the structure “Yutu” (jade rabbit) – just like the rover that discovered it. In Chinese mythology, “Yutu” is a figure who lives on the earth’s satellite with “Chang’e”, the goddess of the moon. For this reason the Chinese lunar missions are named after “Chang’e” and the rovers after “Yutu”.
Since arriving at the far side of the moon in January 2019, the rover “Yutu-2” has traveled about one kilometer. The rover is expected to reach the mysterious rock at the end of January and examine it and the crater behind it more closely – using a spectrometer that can analyze the composition of the rock, among other things.
China: Rover “Yutu-2” discovers a mysterious stone on the moon
First report from Friday, December 3rd, 2021, 4.30 p.m .: Beijing – In January 2019, the Chinese rover “Yutu-2” landed for the first time a man-made device on the far side of the moon. Since then, the rover has been exploring the so-called “back of the moon” and now has a particularly mysterious object in its sights. A picture that the rover sent to Earth shows a cube-shaped structure on the horizon. It is about 80 meters from the rover and is called the “mysterious house” by the Chinese, as space travel journalist Andrew Jones reports on Twitter.
In the next two to three days, the rover should approach the mysterious object in order to then examine it, continues Jones. You can’t tell what it is from the picture showing the cube-shaped object, but it could possibly be a larger stone with a noticeable shape.
Chinese rover “Yutu-2” explores mysterious object on the back of the moon
The Chinese moon rover landed in Von Kármán crater on the far side of the moon in January 2019 and has already covered almost 900 meters. In the meantime, the 37th lunar day has begun for the rover “Yutu-2” and its lander “Chang’e 4”. A day on the moon lasts about 29.5 earth days, a lunar night as well. And there is another crucial difference to the earth: The temperature differences between the day and night side are extreme, since the moon has no protective atmosphere. When the sun is shining, it can get up to 130 degrees Celsius, at night it can be down to -160 degrees Celsius.
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. pic.twitter.com/LWPZoWN05I
— Andrew Jones (@AJ_FI) December 3, 2021
Strange object on the moon: China sends rover “Yutu-2”
The rover and its lander have survived these extreme conditions for almost three years. During this time, “Yutu-2” has already made all sorts of discoveries on the moon. The discovery of a green substance on the back of the moon was particularly mysterious. It was also followed with interest that the lander “Chang’e 4” had cotton seeds with him.
China is currently in the fast lane when it comes to space travel. In December 2020, the next mission landed on the moon with “Chang’e 5”. Their goal was to bring rock samples back to Earth. That worked, the moonstones are currently being analyzed on earth. In February 2021, China put an orbiter into orbital Mars for the first time, only to drop a lander and a rover on the surface of the red planet a few months later. At the same time, China is currently building a space station in space and intends to build a lunar station together with Russia in the future. (tab)