A German group, called PT Scientists, plans to send two rovers to the moon’s surface to examine the site of the 1972 Apollo 17 moon landing.
After confirming a deal with broker Spaceflight Inc., the team secured a place on a private commercial launcher.
They are also one of 16 other teams competing for Google’s $30 million Lunar X-Prize.
The Audi Rover
The team is preparing to work with German car manufacturing giant Audi in order to create solar-powered rovers capable of taking and transmitting high-definition videos.
One of the terms of Google’s competition requires that the rovers land on the moon, travel 500 meters or more, and transmit HD photos and videos back to Earth.
If accomplished, the team would be awarded the $30 million prize.
Nasa set guidelines for anyone planning on sending missions to the moon, including requirements such as keeping a minimum of two kilometers away from the historical Apollo 17 site, and never closer than 200 meters. The guidelines hope to prevent damage to the heritage site.
Even with the distance, rovers’ cameras should still be able to gauge the wear the Moon’s environment had on the original rover.
Audi plans to collaborate with 16 engineers based in Berlin. They hope to prepare a rover that boasts four-wheel drive transmission, lightweight design, and much more, including their iconic four-ringed logo, of course.
The vehicle is expected to travel 238,607 miles. The unmanned trip is expected to launch late in 2017.
The exciting news was welcomed by the scientific community, as there has not been a crewed mission to the moon since 1972 and little to no information on the current status of the American rover.