A solar-powered Chinese space rover has found what’s being called a “mystery house” on the dark side of the moon.
The Yutu 2 rover discovered the so-far unidentified cube on the horizon in the Von Kármán crater in November.
While this may have you immediately jumping over to Spotify to play a little Pink Floyd, remember that it was Lil Wayne who sang “I’ll be waiting for you, on the dark side of the moon”.
The rover has been traversing the 186km-wide crater since it landed on the moon with the Chang’e-4 spacecraft on January 3rd 2019, making the Yutu 2 and Chang’e 4 the first to ever land on the far side of the moon.
Despite the ‘mystery house’ being just 80 meters away from the rover, its approach is expected to take at least two to three lunar days (around two to three Earth months), as the path is riddled with obstacles and the rover is incredibly slow.
The rover travels at an average speed of less than one meter per Earth day and only moves during the lunar day (14 Earth days).
It then sleeps during the lunar night (also 14 Earth days) due to being solar-powered, which is why it will take such a long time for it to reach the object.
According to China Daily, Yutu 2 has only travelled 840 meters across the moon since its landing.
Just a matter of time before they built one there. pic.twitter.com/0McobbG9yy
— Binderdunnit (@njpc1888) December 3, 2021
In terms of what the object actually is, the most likely explanation is just a boulder. This part of the moon is pockmarked with impact craters, which can feature quite a bit of chunky debris.
Still, China National Space Administration (CNSA) scientists are hopeful that the trip will be worth it, and that a closer look at the rock (or whatever it may be) reveals some valuable information about the composition of Moon rocks from beneath the lunar surface.
Ah. We have an update from Yutu-2 on the lunar far side, including an image of a cubic shape on the northern horizon ~80m away from the rover in Von Kármán crater. Referred to as “神秘小屋” (“mystery house”), the next 2-3 lunar days will be spent getting closer to check it out. pic.twitter.com/LWPZoWN05I
— Andrew Jones (@AJ_FI) December 3, 2021
However, ‘OurSpace’ a website affiliated with the CNSA has been referring to the object with a Chinese term which in English translates to “mystery house” or “mystery hut”, adding a bit of mystique to the story.
Whether the object is Lil Wayne’s crib or just a space rock, we’ll have to wait a few months before we can know for sure.