The object first appeared in Yutu 2’s field of view in December, when it appeared as a cube-shaped haze on the horizon. The rover is the first to explore the far side of the Moon, which is always pointed away from Earth. The far side of the moon is rougher and contains more pits than the visible side of the moon. Because the object appeared irregularly symmetrical, with an eerily flat top, researchers from China’s National Space Administration’s Our Space program joked that it could be the alien pioneer hut.
Now that the rover has sent close-ups to Earth a month later, it turns out the rock is much smaller than it has appeared from a distance. The boulder is also much rounder and “cuter,” which reminds researchers of a crouching rabbit munching on carrots (which are actually smaller boulders).
Now that Rabbit Rock has been cataloged, Yutu 2 continues its exploration of Von Kármán crater, 186 kilometers wide. The rover has been exploring the area since the Chang’e 4 lunar lander delivered it to the lunar surface during the very first far-side soft landing in January 2019. Chang’e 4 is already the fourth mission from China to the moon, the second with a thief. The first mission with such a robotic jeep was Chang’e 3. It explored the front of the moon, the part of the moon that we can observe from Earth.
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