I know what you’re thinking. “Wait, the same Audi that manufacturers automobiles wants to land on the moon?” The answer is yes, that same company (Audi) will be landing a rover on the moon by 2017 and have partnered up with Google Lunar XPRIZE Part Time Scientists to make it really happen.
While teaming up with Google Lunar XPRIZE, there do come some requirements that will need to be met. The rover must travel at least half a kilometer and send back high resolution photos and videos back to Earth. The rover also needs to be launched to the moon by 2017 while landing on a specific target on the moon not too far from where Apollo 17 landed back in the 70’s. It’ll take 5 days for the moon rover to land on the moon and will cost around $26.2 million.
Audi is naming their moon rover “Audi Lunar Quattro” and it weighs in at 77.2 pounds. It’s made out of high strength aluminum and does plan on becoming lighter by trying to integrate magnesium. Top speed is only 2.2 mph, which as we all know isn’t fast at all, but when you’re on the moon it’s better to be safe than sorry. Audi Lunar Quattro has a solar panel that’ll swivel, two stereo cameras capturing 3D images, and four wheels that can turn 360 degrees. A third camera will be placed on the rover to take panoramic photos and for studying its surroundings.
Right now 10 Audi employees from different departments have been helping out the Part Time Scientists providing their knowledge on the electrical e-tron drive system and the quattro permanent all-wheel system. More improvements will be looked at such as battery life, electronic motors, and power electronics. Audi will also be helping out with tests and quality of the rover.
Other than Audi, other partners support these Part Time Scientists such as NVIDIA, former NASA employee Jack Crenshaw, the Austrian forum, the German Aerospace Center, and the Technical University of Berlin. These Part Time Scientists have won two Milestone prizes, both $750,000 each, an award for creating the rover and its accompanying optical system.
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