Audi Mission to the Moon

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Audi will send a rover to the moon


German car maker Audi is now entering the space race. The company is sponsoring the construction of a robotic rover which will be launched to the Moon. The mission is to explore one of the Apollo Moon landing sites.


Audi is in pursuit of the USD$30-million XPrize for privately funded space exploration. As part of the Xprize competition rules, a private team must be able to launch a rover to the Moon, land it and then have it drive for at least 500-metres and finally send back high-definition photos from the Lunar surface.


Audi is collaborating with the German space travel team, 'Part Time Scientists' to take up the challenge. As part of the process, Audi is now looking for a suitable privately-built rocket booster. It is most likely that Audi will seek the assistance from Elon Musk, who is the billionaire entrepreneur who established the private SpaceX programme. It is also likely Audi will get assistance from Jeff Bezos' Blue Origin, which will transport its ALINA landing craft to the Moon.


In, all, thirty teams have signed up for the space challenge and they have been whittled down to just five teams, of which Audi is one. Part Time Scientists will begin testing the systems and simulating their mission. As part of the mission preparedness programme, their newly-built rovers will be trialled in the Middle East before launch plans are finalised.


Sixteen Audi engineers have been working on the all-wheel-drive power distribution. With Audi’s expertise in the automotive engineering, it is hoped they can develop a really dynamic moon rover. By optimising high-performance electronics, they are hoping to reduce the overall weight of the rover from 38 to 30 kilogramme. To accomplish this, they will utilise intelligent material mixes and 3D-printed aluminium.








"We are proud that we have given the Moon rover important aspects of the four rings' DNA: It is a Quattro, has an e-tron battery on board, drives in piloted mode and offers an intelligent mix of materials," remarked Michael Schöffmann, Head of Audi Transmission Development and Development Coordinator of the Audi lunar Quattro.


"The collaboration with the Part-Time scientists is also very enriching for us: We are breaking new technological ground with the Audi lunar Quattro and can learn much about how automotive components behave in extreme conditions."






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Audi has stress tested all these components in their 'Audi sun simulation chamber', where the Moon's extreme conditions were simulated.


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“The temperature of the lunar surface, comprising fine, sand-like “regolith”, is 120°C. The sun radiates 1,400 watts of power per square metre from above. The ambient temperature of space is –270°C. Moreover, while on earth the circulation of air transports heat away, this can’t happen in the perfect vacuum on the moon.


Karsten Becker, a member of the Part-Time Scientists: “This means the key question isn’t ‘How can we get rid of the heat?’ but rather ‘How can we prevent the rover from getting too hot in the first place?’.”


"We are proud that we have given the Moon rover important aspects of the four rings' DNA: It is a Quattro, has an e-tron battery on board, drives in piloted mode and offers an intelligent mix of materials," remarked Michael Schöffmann, Head of Audi Transmission Development and Development Coordinator of the Audi lunar Quattro.


"The collaboration with the Part-Time scientists is also very enriching for us: We are breaking new technological ground with the Audi lunar Quattro and can learn much about how automotive components behave in extreme conditions."







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