Last month, we reported that China's Yutu 2 rover spotted a mysterious cube-shaped object while traveling across the Von Kármán crater. The internet immediately went wild with theories that the object referred to as a “mystery hut” or “strange cube” may be of alien origin.
The discovery was actually first made in November during the Yutu 2 rover mission's 36th lunar day. The spotted object was approximately 260 feet (80 meters) away on the northern horizon. The discovery was reported on a Yutu 2 diary entry by Our Space, a Chinese language blog associated with the China National Space Administration (CNSA).
China's space agency then announced it would travel toward the object at a super-fast lunar speed of 656 feet per hour (200 meters an hour) to get some answers.
Now, we finally have confirmation of what the object is and it's quite frankly not that exciting. It's simply a rock.
Paul Byrne, a professor in Earth and Planetary Sciences at Washington University in St. Louis, told Inverse: “It is clearly a large boulder the size of a small boulder. And thus, by definition, it *is* a boulder.”
Byrne further specified:
“There is actually a definition of a boulder, according to something called the Udden–Wentworth scale, which says a boulder is a chunk of rock greater than 256 mm in diameter. So I think our lunar friend counts.”
The Yutu-2 team has now named the rock “Jade Rabbit" due to its resemblance to the animal.
In January of 2020, Yutu-2 released a treasure trove of images from the never-before-seen far side (or “dark” side) of the Moon. The images came from Chang'e-4 lander's terrain camera and Yutu-2 rover's panoramic camera.
At the time, an impressive 17,239 data files with a total data volume of 20.9 GB were released.