British startup in two years will launch a walking lunar rover

UNITED STATES, WASHINGTON (OBSERVATORY SCIENCE) — Pavel Tanasyuk, founder and CEO of the British startup Spacebit, said that in 2021 the company would send the Walking Rover to the moon.

The device will weigh less than 1.3 kilograms, which makes it the smallest and cheapest lunar rover in history. Four legs will allow him to walk and jump . Perhaps he will even become the first rover to descend into a lava tube.

However, it is not planned to release the lunar rover further than 10 meters from the landing module.

Despite its small size, the probe will be equipped with various sensors, including a lidar, which allows you to build a three-dimensional map of the area. Also, the rover will carry two HD cameras on board.

The mission is designed for 10 Earth days (less than one lunar day). All this time, the rover will power the solar panel. With the onset of a moonlit night with its centigrade frost, the mission is guaranteed to end, because the project does not provide for a heating system.

The launch is scheduled for the third quarter of 2021. It will be a debut for the Vulcan Centaur booster, developed by the United Launch Alliance.

The rocket will launch into space another interesting device called Peregrine (“Peregrine Falcon”), created by Astrobotic. The Peregrine Falcon will carry a rover on board, among other payloads.

Peregrine is reportedly equipped with four legs. The probe reaches 1.9 meters in height and 2.5 meters in width. Its prelaunch weight is 1313 kilograms, of which 450 kilograms are fuel and 90 kilograms per payload. The Sapsan can take on board up to 14 scientific instruments, including rovers.

Five engines, each developing a thrust of 667 Newtons each, must provide the apparatus with a path to Selena, maneuvering and a soft landing.

Astrobotic previously participated in the Google Lunar X Prize with this project . Recall that the conditions of the competition required a soft landing on the moon probe, created mainly by private means.

The prize fund was 30 million US dollars (more than 1 billion 900 million rubles at the current rate). However, in 2018, the announced dates came out, and no one got the award. However, several teams said they would continue to work on projects without remuneration.

By the way, one of such teams was created by the Israeli probe Beresheet, which crashed when trying to softly land on the moon in April 2019.

Until now, the only countries that made a soft landing on Selena are the USSR, the USA and China (the latter having even reached the back of our satellite). A private company from any country has not yet performed such a technological feat even once.

However, the new lunar race is gaining momentum. Plans to launch new moon rovers were voiced not only by NASA , but also by Toyota Corporation. In the meantime, the American space agency is going to send a man to the moon in five years.


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