Chinese rover discovers moon cube is just rabbit-like rock

Last November, the Chinese lunar rover Yutu-2 spotted something curious on the far side of the moon. The image was blurry, but unmistak...

Last November, the Chinese lunar rover Yutu-2 spotted something curious on the far side of the moon. The image was blurry, but unmistakable: the object looked like a cube resting on the surface of the moon. Its shape seemed too precise to be just a moon rock – perhaps something left behind by visiting aliens like the monolith in “2001: A Space Odyssey” by Arthur C. Clarke.

The Chinese space authorities have called it the “mystery hut”. Others called it the “moon cube”. Yutu-2 was dispatched for further examination, and at the leisurely speed the rover is capable of traveling, it took weeks to get close.

Friday, Our Space, a Chinese language science channel affiliated with the China National Space Administration, released an update. There is no monolith, no secret base on the edge of a lunar crater. Up close, it turns out it’s just a rock. The seemingly perfect geometric shape was just a play of angle, light and shadow.

Although the mysterious hut was not a hut at all, one of the rover’s remote pilots on Earth pointed out that the rock somehow looked like a rabbit and one of the stones in front of it looked a bit like a carrot. This is normal because the rover’s name means “Jade Rabbit”.

The rover has traveled just over 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. This is the first mission to land on the other side.

Visual illusions are common in the history of space exploration, whether seen by astronomers looking through telescopes on Earth or robotic explorers on other worlds capturing images with cameras. Along with the rabbit-like rock found by the Chinese rover, a NASA rover on Mars, Opportunity, spotted something that looked like rabbit ears in 2004. Further analysis by engineers on Earth suggested that it was insulation or other soft material which fell from the rover itself.

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Newsrust - US Top News: Chinese rover discovers moon cube is just rabbit-like rock
Chinese rover discovers moon cube is just rabbit-like rock
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