The publicity of the week is undoubtedly to credit Audi. Far from the “dieselgate”, Volkswagen’s subsidiary CSP ++ communicates on a brand new model of the Audi Quattro, an all-terrain model since it is designed to face the lunar tracks. The carmaker is sponsoring the German “Part-Time Scientists” team, which participates in Google Lunar XPRIZE, a challenge with $ 30 million in endowments. 5 teams are still in the race to the Moon and the Audi Lunar Quattro may well be the first private rover to put its wheels on the lunar surface.
A robot on the trail of the Apollo 17 lunar jeep
It was in 2007 that the Google Lunar XPRIZE was launched and about fifteen teams committed to the technical challenge posed by Google. If several prizes have been awarded at different stages of the competition, the ultimate goal and land a robot on the moon, then roll it at least 500 m on the lunar ground. A distance that will allow the robot to go to the landing site of the famous Apollo 17 mission and find the lunar jeep left by the American astronauts in 1972.
This will send high-resolution images to the Earth. 16 teams entered the competition, with American, European, Japanese and Malaysian teams. These teams are essentially made up of researchers, academics and few industrialists involved in this space competition. Audi has chosen to sponsor “Part-Time Scientists”, a team of 70 members, 35 of which are based in Germany. Financial support that allows the manufacturer to affix his logo to the robot created by these part-time scientists.
The Lunar Quattro was unveiled at the beginning of the year and the manufacturer is now testing his robot to check that it will withstand the extreme conditions of a lunar stay. To realize its rover, the engineers chose titanium and aluminum to lighten the robot to the maximum. In addition, this one was realized in 3D printing. The Top Gear website points out that a change in the design of the wheels, initially intended to improve the stability of the robot, reduced their weight by 8 kg.
The German team has already negotiated with SpaceX to board its robot on a Falcon 9 rocket. If the mission ends in 2017, as announced, it will be the first private mission to reach the Moon and, incidentally, the first Audi to ride on the lunar ground.
Translation : Google Translate
“Audi is going into space in 2017”, Top Gear, December 1st, 2015
“German X Prize team announces launch contract”, Space News, November 29, 2016
“Audi AG supports part time scientists”, Google Lunar XPRIZE release, June 30, 2015