It weighs just 75 pounds, boasts wheels made of a titanium-aluminum alloy, and its “sunroof” is an array of solar panels. The little buggy rolling around the Audi stand at the North American International Auto Show isn’t nearly as sleek and sexy as the rest of the vehicles Audi has on display. But it doesn’t have to be, not when it comes time to start rolling around the surface of the moon.
The German maker is lending its financial support to a team of scientists chasing the latest Xprize. They hope to launch their mobile lab next year atop an Indian rocket, and if all goes well, it will travel nearly a quarter-million miles before landing on the Taurus Littrow Valley – which just happened to be the last place an Apollo moon mission landed 43 years ago.
“We plan to go back and look at the (lunar rover) they left behind,” Karsten Becker, a member of the German team told TheDetroitBureau.com. During the 11 days it’s expected to be operational, the Audi-funded buggy will also perform a wide range of experiments before being plunged into the deep freeze of a lunar night. (more…)