In late 2021, the Chinese space agency CNSA shared an image that drew a lot of attention on the internet. An image taken by the rover Yutu 2, a Chinese robot that is on the Moon for the exploration of Earth’s natural satellite.
Upon its arrival, the robot took a photo that generated a lot of discussion on the internet because many people looked at it and were extremely curious to know what that point that stood out on the horizon was.
For some, that was a space station revealed by chance, others even claimed that it was a cabin on the Moon.
There were even people saying that this would have been a photo posted by mistake by the Chinese agency. Following the doubts of several people, the agency moved the rover to the point of interest. And now, we finally know what a cabin was and definitely isn’t. It was just what most expected, a rock.
In this video I comment on several curious and interesting aspects about this subject involving the Chinese agency and the main doubts about this topic. I comment on China’s plans for exploring the Moon, details about the Rover Yutu 2 and I also talk about the dark side of the Moon, where the Chinese robot is exploring.
Chang’e Quest 4 and Yutu 2
The basic point we need to understand is: there is a robot from China on the moon. And besides, where is it and why. What is his reason for being there?
In December 2018, China launched the Chang’e 4 mission to explore the Dark Side of the Moon.
This is a region believed to have received an ancient collision event, which would have formed a large crater there. A region now known as the Aitken Basin, about 13 kilometers deep and 2500 kilometers in diameter.
And this basin has several other craters formed by other asteroid impacts. This is a place that hadn’t even been closely investigated by a space agency, so China wanted to get there and see what they had. The idea of sending the Yutu robot is simple, despite having an extremely complex execution.
The main objective was to measure the composition of the soil at the site, but there are still several others to be accomplished with the rover there.
Dark side of the Moon
What is this much talked about dark side of the moon where the Chinese rover is?
THE dark side, hidden side. or far side of the moon actually refers to a side that we don’t see from the Earth. Looking from here we always see the same face of the Moon. dark side it is dark? Not really, it receives sunlight just like the other side visible from here.
And to better understand this we need to understand the gravitational rotation of our satellite.
The Moon has a cycle of days just like the Earth, the sun rises and sets, thinking from their point of view. A day on the Moon is equivalent to 30 Earth days, including a dark period and a light period, as is our concept of day here.
So about two weeks light and two weeks dark. It takes us 30 days to complete a lunar day.
And it’s taking this into account that Yutu 2 does its energy recharge. When it’s daytime, it takes advantage of the sunlight to supply its energies with its solar energy capture panels. And otherwise, when it’s night, he stays still at temperatures that can reach 170 degrees below zero.
And that’s where we see the phases of the Moon, from here on Earth. Because basically the Earth’s rotation with the Moon and the Sun’s light fit into gravitational cycles that result in that.
Earth’s gravity forces the Moon to turn its face this way as they both rotate and receive sunlight.
But all this to say that yes, the term dark side is weak, hidden side or the far side gets better and that’s where the Chinese rover is right now.
Rover Yutu2 Discoveries
And here comes an important and curious detail. Communication from the far side of the Moon with us is more difficult precisely because it is further away and not directly pointed here. Also until then no one had been able to send data from that region.
To achieve this, the Chinese put a satellite to orbit the Moon, it receives the collected data and sends it to our planet.
Well, what has been discovered so far? Another interesting point of going to a deep crater on the Moon is getting a precisely deeper measurement of the layers of the crust, being able to better identify its composition.
And you may ask yourself, but wouldn’t you also be able to harvest some of the soil from there and bring it here so that it could be analyzed? Good yes.
This was done by the Chang’e 5 mission, launched on the 23rd of November and which landed there on the 1st of December 2020. It has already returned from there with 2kg of samples.
Only Chang’e 5 was in the closest region and not in the farthest one like Chang’4 responsible for sending Yutu 2.
And just to clarify, this act of taking material from the Moon has already been done by the Soviet Union and the United States. Our first accurate information about the lunar soil was taken from these studies of the space race lived during the Cold War era. And we know that it is mostly composed of iron, silicon, calcium, aluminum and other elements. It is worth mentioning, of course, that the amount of each element also varies according to each region.
The Chinese were also able to use a radar to read the layers of the Moon.
The radar used ten reading a first layer of thin terrain 12 meters deep, formed by ancient rocks crushed by meteors and corroded by the effect of solar radiation.
One second layer of about 24 meters formed by rocks of half a meter and two meters in length.
And further down, to the region where the radar was able to penetrate, at about 40 meters, there is a mixed terrain with layers of thin earth and rocks.
China’s plans on the Moon
China is making big investments for space exploration and has been publicizing its plans for a partnership with Russia. The idea of the two countries is to set up a base there by 2030.
This plan, however, does not include people at first, first a preparation of the ground will be made before astronauts will be sent to the lunar soil.
And speaking of possibilities, it is worth remembering that there is water there. But not just water, ice. This is in the poles, where the incidence of solar rays is much lower.
The ice in question was found inside the craters at the poles, and scientists hope they can use it to turn it into water to make fuel. Despite looking like a distant future, exploration of this ice would allow the Moon to become a central stopping point for space exploration.
But what about the cabin on the moon?
Now that we know the story behind the cabin, I think it’s worth reflecting on how this image was seen by some people.
Imagine that you invest billions in technology. You study space for decades, do simulations, controlled tests, a rocket, a probe, make a launch towards the moon, land safely in a cold sweat, manage to investigate the ground, transmit an image to Earth and make a post showing it to others humans. The result? People look at the picture and point to a moon hut, which never existed.
And that’s okay. To a certain extent. This is because there is a tragic limit, as some people simply denied the information with the argument of: do you think China is telling the truth?
Some people simply preferred to believe that that rock was actually a hut. And certainly the Chinese agency handled the situation with a lot of good humor, joked that they really unraveled her mystery, it really is a derelict ship“, one alien base.
Rover Yutu 2 continues to investigate and as soon as we have more relevant information on the subject, we will come back here to share with you.
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