Update 07/01/22: Yutu-2 has explored the "Mysterious House" on the far side of the Moon and discovered that it was just a rock. No ancient monoliths for us this time, sadly, but some very cool pictures.
Obviously, the aliens all built their houses on the far side of the Moon, beyond the gaze of our prying telescopes. What they didn’t bank on, however, was a little visit from China’s Yutu-2 rover, which has spotted an intriguing cube-shaped object on the lunar surface, described as a “mystery house” by the China National Space Administration (CNSA) outreach channel Our Space.
In reality, the strange blob is likely to be nothing more than a piece of Moon rock, although all will be revealed in the near future when Yutu-2 makes its way over to the object for a closer look. For now, though, the CNSA seems to be enjoying its little joke, quipping that the discovery may represent “a home built by aliens after crash landing.”
In January 2019, Yutu-2 became the first probe ever to land on the far side of the Moon and has been exploring and sending back incredible photos ever since. For the past 36 lunar days – or just under three Earth years – the rover has provided data from the Von Kármán crater, where it spotted the strange item on the northern horizon last month.
While it’s impossible to categorically rule out the possibility of lunar real estate, most of the evidence suggests that the mysterious cube is probably just a large boulder that was blasted into its current position by a meteorite impact. Unlike Earth, the Moon lacks an atmosphere to protect it from space rocks, which means it is constantly being walloped by hurtling pieces of debris – hence the abundance of impact craters on its surface.
The strange object happens to be located close to several such craters, and Yutu-2 will now make a beeline towards it in order to confirm its identity. Despite being just 80 meters (260 feet) away, the rover’s approach is expected to take two to three lunar days (two to three Earth months), as the way is treacherous and riddled with obstacles.
In addition, the fact that Yutu-2 is solar powered means that it has to shut down completely during the long lunar nights, thus adding to its journey time considerably. Still, CNSA scientists are hopeful that the short yet unhurried trip will be worth it, as a closer look at the rock could reveal valuable information about the composition of Moon rock from beneath the lunar surface.
Either that, or they’ll discover a house with a very unique zip code.