There’s a Weird Cube on the Moon
The Yutu-2 rover is on its way to investigate.
By Kait SanchezPosted: 26 Dec 2021 8:30 am
China’s Yutu-2 rover recently sent home a photo of a mysterious cubic object on the lunar horizon, according to logs published by Our Space.
Dubbed the “Moon Cube” by delighted onlookers across the internet, the object sparked speculation about alien houses and a lunar McDonald’s. In reality, it’s almost definitely a boulder (or perhaps multiple boulders). Nevertheless, it intrigued the rover’s drivers enough that they’re steering the rover toward it to investigate.
The ‘Moon Cube’ pictured on the far side of the moon. (Image credit: CNSA/Our Space)
Unfortunately for Moon Cube enthusiasts, it will take a while for Yutu-2 to reach the object. While it has a top speed of 200 meters per hour, it’s only traveled about 900 meters since it landed in January 2019. The rover takes pretty frequent naps, going dormant during the long, cold lunar nights and during lunar noons when temperatures rise. It also often stops to collect data with its various instruments, including a near-infrared imaging spectrometer and ground-penetrating radar.
A lot of meticulous planning goes into moving Yutu-2 only a few meters. Drivers on Earth study various images of the lunar surface, make 3D models, and carefully plot the path of the rover to avoid perilous craters and slopes. It will take about 2 to 3 lunar days, roughly 2 to 3 Earth months, to reach the cube.Sights and Sounds of Mars from NASA’s Perseverance Rover
Yutu-2 is the first rover to explore the far side of the moon. China also has a rover on Mars that landed in May 2021, joining NASA’s Perseverance rover. Perseverance landed in February 2021, bringing with it the Ingenuity copter that completed the first powered, controlled flight on Mars.