Private rovers to investigate Apollo 17’s abandoned moon buggy

Private rovers to investigate Apollo 17’s abandoned moon buggy

With a hope to win Google's $30 million Lunar X-prize, a German team has signed a contract to send a rover to examine the Apollo moon rover that was left on the lunar surface more than four decades ago.

The rover was left on the surface of Earth’s only natural satellite in 1972 when Harrison Schmitt and Gene Cernan stepped aboard NASA’s Apollo 17’s lunar module to return to Earth.

The PT Scientists estimated that two rovers could be launched by late 2017.

Karsen Becker, the 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 two rovers will travel to within 200 meters or 656 feet of the abandoned Apollo rover, and inspect it remotely. The rovers will send live high-definition images of the abandoned rover back to Earth.

Karsten Becker, the head of electronics at PT Scientists indicated that the rovers will most likely be launched using SpaceX’s Falcon 9 rocket. However, a final decision is yet to be made.

The German team also has ambitions beyond Earth’s only natural satellite. For instance, it aims to send a rover to Phobos, the larger of Mars’ two moons.


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