Plans to revisit Apollo 17 landing site
In a first of its kind, a private mission to the moon is planning to revisit the spot where astronauts last roamed its surface.
Reportedly, German-based PT Scientists says it will land a pair of rovers, designed with the help of car firm Audi, near the Apollo 17 landing site and check out the lunar buggy left behind by NASA during its final mission to the moon in 1972.
When Apollo 17 astronauts Gene Cernan and Harrison Schmitt left the lunar surface in 1972, their iconic moon buggy remained behind. Now a private moon mission is gearing up to take place, led by a rover manufactured by German car maker Audi.
The Audi Lunar Quattro can hit a top speed of 2.2mph and the team behind it have secured a launch contract to send it to the moon. The German scientists are hoping they can visit the site of the Apollo 17 buggy and see what condition it’s in.
The team aims to grab the chance of winning Google’s $30m (£23 million) Lunar X prize, which rewards an engineering team that successfully places a lander on the moon, makes it travel 500 meters and send back high definition footage.
In an interview with New Scientist, Becker, team’s rover driver said, “Has it been ripped to shreds by micrometeorids, or is it still standing there like on the day they left?”
“This is scientifically a very interesting site for us.”
The team have used a thermal imaging camera to see how the rover would perform at different temperatures during testing. Adjustments and refinements will continue as the engineers confirm the launch details.
Reportedly, the project hopes to launch two of the Audi rovers by late 2017 or early 2018.