Scientists with the China National Space Administration (CNSA) have discovered a cube-shaped object on the far side of the moon, and they intend to further check it out over the coming months. Over the weekend, Our Space — a CNSA-affiliated website — first reported scientists spotted the "hut"-like object.
As it stands now, CNSA officials say the object is currently around 80 meters away from its solar-powered Yutu 2 rover, it will take anywhere from two to three months to navigate craters and the Moon's rocky terrain and get closer to the object.
"The pilots told the scientists about this discovery," a translation of Our Space reads. "They couldn't wait to zoom in on the image, looked at the 'mysterious house' far in the sky, and began to let their imaginations go, then immediately called the pilots, 'This thing is interesting! Let's go Check it out!'"
The CNSA made history in 2019 when it became the first space agency to land on the "dark," or far side of the moon. Despite astronauts with Apollo 8 orbiting the Moon and viewing the backside of the satellite in 1968, no group had actually made the effort to land on it until 2019.
The discovery is the second such find Yutu 2 has made since landing. Shortly after landing, the rover discovered "gel-life" material with an "unusual color." Scientists eventually decided nearly a year after discovering the substance was likely a rock that had been melted by something such as a meteorite impact.
"The discovered breccia, being 52 × 16 cm, resembles the lunar impact melt breccia samples 15466 and 70019 that returned by the Apollo missions," a study published in the August 2020 issue of Earth and Planetary Science Letters reads. "It was formed by impact-generated welding, cementing and agglutinating of lunar regolith and breccia. Clods surrounds the breccia-hosting crater were crushed into regolith powders by the rover's wheels, indicating the regolith may be compacted slightly and becomes blocky and friable."