The space community was abuzz last December when a mysterious object on the moon suggested more to it with a shape resembling a hut. However, a less exciting explanation of the object has emerged, dashing hopes of a suspected of intelligent presence on the earth’s satellite.
If you had been secretly hoping that the hut-shaped object spotted by the Chinese moon rover, Yutu-2 proved intelligent creatures inhabit or inhabited the satellite, it has been confirmed that was not the case.
The object was seen on the far side of the moon and became a sensation in the last month of 2021 as speculations abounded.
At the end of the end, the object is another piece of rock sitting on a crater rim. The shape and size were distorted by the camera angle of the Yutu-2 rover, leading to interesting speculations. However, upon closer views in subsequent photos, the new perspective shows what the object really looks like.
Interestingly, the new photos actually make the object even more intriguing in a way. Yutu-2 snapped from behind this time, and our favorite piece of rock now looks like a rabbit. The rabbit appears to be crouching, ready to pounce on something.
According to Andrew Jones, a space journalist, 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.”
Completing the rabbit illusion is what appears to be carrots (rabbits like carrots) in front of it. Of course, the carrots are rocks as well, but it is nice to pretend they are moon carrots. And behind the rock-rabbit are more rocks that look conveniently placed like bunny poop.
With this later discovery, the rock has earned itself a nickname ‘jade rabbit,’ which does not look out of place as the rover name Yutu translates to Jade Rabbit. It is like the rover located its own mascot on the moon.
Yutu-2 landed on the moon in 2019 as part of the China National Space Administration-sponsored mission Chang’e-4. The mission is meant to explore the far side of the moon that is not always dark. The moon rover can power itself for many years with its solar panels. However, its activities are limited because it hibernates when the sun goes down. The periodic hibernation was why there was time for speculations before the rover got a better camera angle.
Space watchers have always been intrigued by weird shapes out there, especially on the Red Planet, where several rovers continuously send pictures. However, there is usually a mundane explanation, just like in the case of the ‘mystery hut’ on the moon.
At any rate, we will soon have better opportunities to explore the moon as the US National Aeronautics and Space Administration plans to resume regular missions to the moon in a few years. The agency hopes to set up a permanent human presence after sending the first humans to the moon more than fifty years ago.
After conquering the moon, NASA plans to send astronauts to Mars as well. The first human landing is scheduled for the next decade, but we will eventually have the chance to explore Mars in more detail.