A Chinese space rover has located a mysterious cube-shaped object on the surface of the Moon.
The Yutu-2—a robotic rover run by the Chinese government—was traversing the Von Kármán crater on the far side of the Moon in November when it came upon an object that Our Space, a Chinese language science outreach channel affiliated with the China National Space Administration, colloquially described as a “mystery hut,” according to a translation by Space.com.
The rover captured an image of the object from 260 feet away—too far for astronomers to get a clear sense of the object’s identity. But Yutu-2 is slated to spend the next two to three lunar days (or two to three months on Earth) travelling the region of the Moon to get a closer look at it. The main obstructions on this part of the Moon, the Our Space diary notes, are craters and slopes.
There’s no definitive word yet on what the object is; it’s likely merely a boulder dug up by a meteor impact, Space.com noted. This is plausible, because Our Space notes there is an impact crater next to the cube.
Commenters on Twitter joked that it could be anything from a McDonalds or a Starbucks to a bus shelter within which to take respite from the Moon’s variable temperatures. Even Our Space had a little fun, playfully suggesting that it could be a home made by aliens after a crash landing.
The Yutu-2 was the first rover to land on the far side of the Moon (the portion that faces away from earth) in 2019 for the Chang’e 4 mission, the Chinese government’s fourth lunar expiration mission. Knowledge of this hemisphere is thus limited relative to what’s known about the rest of the moon.