Why is Audi going to the moon?

Why is Audi going to the moon?

Audi has now announced that it has joined the Google Lunar X Prize competition, teaming up with a German team of scientists to send a vehicle to the moon.



By (The Christian Science Monitor)

Published: Mon 29 Jun 2015, 11:48 PM

Last updated: Wed 8 Jul 2015, 2:45 PM

A worker fixes a car emblem as she assembles Audi A8 models at their plant in Neckarsulm near Heilbronn. Reuters file

A worker fixes a car emblem as she assembles Audi A8 models at their plant in Neckarsulm near Heilbronn. Reuters file

There’s a high-stakes X Prize competition running, and this one’s to the moon—literally. We’re talking, of course, about the Google Lunar X Prize, which has been running since 2007 and pits teams against each other in a race to launch, land, and operate a rover on the moon’s surface and send back footage.

Audi has now announced that it has joined the Google Lunar X Prize, teaming up with German team Part-Time Scientists in the moon mission. The team has selected the old landing site of the last manned mission to the moon, Apollo 17, as the target, and thanks to its partnership with Audi will benefit from the automaker’s lightweight construction, electric propulsion, autonomous driving and quattro technologies.

A development vehicle, the Audi Lunar Quattro, has already been built and is currently in testing. If all goes to plan, the vehicle should launch into space in 2017 onboard a rocket and travel more than 236,000 miles to the moon. The trip will take about five days, the team claims.

The Audi Lunar Quattro, which is largely made of aluminum, has already undertaken various rounds of testing in locations such as the Austrian Alps and Tenerife. An adjustable solar panel captures sunlight and directs it to a lithium&ion battery, which feeds four wheel-mounted electric motors. Up front are two stereoscopic cameras as well as a scientific camera that examines materials.


More news from Auto