The renowned automobile giant Audi is among the 16 team competing to win the $20 million prize for exploring the landing site of Apollo 17 spacecraft. Audi has collaborated with the team of scientist for making Audi Lunar quattro rovers that will explore the site .
As per the reports, the rover will land within 3-5 km range of the landing site and will reach as near as 200 meters to further explore the site with its high-resolution camera.
The competition is being sponsored by the tech giant Google which wants companies like Audi to implement their knowledge and technological skills in the field of space and exploring the landing site on the moon as Google believes that it can give us an opportunity to take a giant leap in the field of space and science. In addition, space missions have mostly been government funded and this project will motivate private firms to step up, develop cheaper technologies for space missions.
“The Moon is not only our nearest planetary neighbor, but it is also the gateway to the rest of the universe,” Google’s website describing the Lunar XPRIZE states. “The Moon provides exciting opportunities for discovery in the fields of science, technology, resource detection and utilization, and human habitation.”
Google’s Lunar XPRIZE was started back in 2007 with a goal to involve private organisations in space missions and revisit landing site of Apollo 17. Google believes that space agencies like NASA and SpaceX are planning for Journey to Mars but studying Moon can help us in developing a better understanding of our universe.
The US space agency NASA started sending astronauts to the moon with Apollo missions starting in 1969. While Apollo 17 was the last manned mission to the moon and Google wants to examine the site.
In addition, Google has also announced an additional $5 million prize for the mission that makes further scientific discoveries after exploring the site.
As per details provided by Audi on its website, the company’s experience of “lightweight construction, electric mobility, permanent four-wheel drive and piloted driving” have allowed it to get involved in various areas of rover development: design, construction, and testing.
16 teams are competing and fastest to complete the challenge will win the prize. However, Audi wants to win the additional $5 million prize that’s why they are also developing 3D printing technology that will enable researchers to grow plants on the Moon.