The mysterious “cube” on the Moon was not one

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Spaceship, alien hut and even an alien Arc de Triomphe. The photo taken by the little Chinese robot Yutu II in early December, showing a strange cubic shape on the surface of the Moon had made the imagination of Internet users work. Since then, the exploration vehicle has been able to approach this unidentified object, only to realize that it is indeed… a rock.

Even more disappointing, this rock, of very modest size, does not even have a strange shape as the picture suggests. His appearance was only an illusion due to a perspective play of light and shadow, the media explains. Insider which follows the blog of the Chinese National Space Administration (CNSA).

“The surface of the Moon is made up of 38 million square kilometers of rock, so it would have been astronomically exceptional if it had been otherwise”, recalled on Twitter the specialist journalist Andrew Jones, who had baptized the object the “house mysterious “(« mysterious house »). “Without reference points and an atmosphere on the Moon, it’s very difficult to get an idea of ​​the distance or the scale of an object,” he added.

Already in early December, scientists agreed that it was probably debris from a meteorite or lunar soil, the rock in question being near the Von Kármán crater, a frequently bombed area. But the Chinese authorities had taken the matter very seriously, involving Yutu in a hunt for the “mysterious cube”.

The followers of science fiction films will therefore be disappointed but not the Chinese astronomers for whom the find has a symbolic value: one of the scientists who pilot the rover remotely declared in the CNSA blog that the rock had the shape of a small rabbit, having in front of it several small pebbles reminiscent of carrots. Now the name of the robot, Yutu, the same asa previous remote-controlled machine sent in 2013 by Beijing on the Moon, literally means “jade rabbit”.

Mission accomplished

No offense to the scoffers, the rover has more than fulfilled its mission. On the moon for three years, the solar-powered rover is part of Chang’e Lunar Expedition 4 which aims to explore for the first time the hidden side of the satellite of our planet (the one that never faces the Earth). Since it landed, it has covered more than a kilometer, a feat. All the more so as its lifespan was hardly to exceed the three months necessary for its initial vocation.

A performance reminiscent of that of its predecessor Yutu I, initially designed to be operational for 12 weeks but which finally roamed the lunar soil for 31 months. Thanks to its ground-penetrating radar, Yutu II has notably enabled scientists to realize the astonishing depth of the lunar soil layer, reports Insider.

The bunny-shaped rock isn’t the little robot’s first wacky discovery. In July 2019, he revealed to the world a “mysterious shine gel” at the bottom of a crater, as indicated Numerama. Here again, speculation was rife. It was ultimately a melted rock probably as a result of a meteorite impact. What will be the next mystery that Yutu will raise? Internet users can already take the bets.

Spaceship, alien hut and even an alien Arc de Triomphe. The photo taken by the little Chinese robot Yutu II in early December, showing a strange cubic shape on the surface of the Moon had made the imagination of Internet users work. Since then, the exploration vehicle has been able…

Spaceship, alien hut and even an alien Arc de Triomphe. The photo taken by the little Chinese robot Yutu II in early December, showing a strange cubic shape on the surface of the Moon had made the imagination of Internet users work. Since then, the exploration vehicle has been able…

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