Chinese scientists spot 'mysterious hut' on far side of the moon

·2-min read

A curious object has been spotted on the horizon on the far side of the moon by scientists working on China's lunar exploration mission.

Compared to a "mysterious hut" that "appeared out of thin air" by Our Space, a Chinese National Space Administration (CNSA) affiliated outreach channel, the object is going to be investigated by the Yutu 2 (Jade Rabbit) rover.

The object, which is most likely a boulder, is about 80 metres away from the rover's current location and Our Space said it would take two or three days to get there.

Observers have suggested that the apparent geometric shape of the "hut" could be a visual artefact caused by the low resolution of the image.

Most serious scientists doubt that it is evidence of alien activity, although some are joking about the possibility.

Social media users are also having fun drawing on news and pop culture to guess what it could be - including the return of mysterious monoliths that sprung up around the world in 2020.

"It's gonna be a Starbucks," one quipped.

Watch; Special report - One Giant Leap

China's moon mission

China's Chang'e 4 lunar mission landed on 3 January 2019, after being launched on a Long March 3B rocket from Xichang in the south of the country the previous December.

Just 12 hours after landing, the Jade Rabbit rover drove off onto the surface of the moon and has now travelled roughly 840 metres since landing.

"It's a small step for the rover, but one giant leap for the Chinese nation," Wu Weiren, the chief designer of China's lunar exploration project, told state television.

"This giant leap is a decisive move for our exploration of space and the conquering of the universe," he added.

The Jade Rabbit 2 rover has six wheels and is powered for six-wheel drive, so even if wheels fail, others will independently continue, state media reported.

The rover can drive at a maximum speed of 200 metres (220 yards) per hour, and climb up slopes of up to 20 degrees and navigate over obstacles 20cm (8in) tall.

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