China’s lunar rover Yutu 2 is on en route to a new destination on the far side of the moon to investigate a mysterious object resembling a hut.
The peculiar white object has a geometric appearance against the pitch-black horizon in photos snapped by the rover, prompting China’s Change 4 mission team to deploy the Yutu 2 on a journey spanning two to three months to investigate precisely what it is, according to Chinese scientific media outreach website Our Space.
“This thing is really interesting – we should go investigate it,” the scientists were quoted as saying.
To make matters even more interesting, the object lies directly alongside a large-impact “baby” crater.
China’s National Space Administration or CNSA has described the box-like feature as a “mysterious hut,” while also joking that it could be a home constructed by aliens following the crash landing at the Von Kármán crater in the South Pole-Aitken Basin, which the rover has been navigating since the start of 2019.
The lunar rover moves at an average speed of under 1 meter for every 24 earth-hours and operates during the lunar day, which lasts 14 earth days. During the 14-day lunar night, the rover goes into hibernation.
Yutu 2 derives its name from a rabbit in Chinese folklore that famously lived on the moon.
In July 2019, Yutu 2 discovered a strange, colorful “gel-like substance with a mysterious luster” on the lunar surface which is still being researched.
China hopes to explore both lunar poles by 2030 after which it will send manned missions to the Moon, where it hopes to eventually establish a permanent base.
China has made astonishing advances in its space program, with ongoing missions including the first exploration of the dark side of the moon, a robotic probe to Mars, and a crewed flight to build China’s new space station.
The breakthroughs by China have shocked U.S. war-planners, who see the people’s republic’s moves in space as having a primarily military character.
However, the Pentagon has gone much further in placing warfighting infrastructure in the cosmos, even going so far as dedicating a new branch of the armed forces, the U.S. Space Force, to this purpose.
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