Audi joins race to the Moon

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The competition heats up: The carmaker Audi has joined one of the teams competing for the Google Lunar X-Prize.

Audi’s part in the project will be to supply technical know how though its Audi Concept Design Studio, including the application of its quattro all-wheel drive technology and its experience in lightweight construction, electric mobility, and piloted driving. The company says it will also help in testing, trials, and quality assurance.

The rover, now named the “Audi lunar quattro,” is scheduled to launch sometime in 2017 and is aimed at a landing zone north of the lunar equator somewhere near 1972 Apollo 17 mission landing site, through the law prevents the rover from actually visiting it because it’s a protected area. “The concept of a privately financed mission to the moon is fascinating,” says Luca de Meo, Audi Board Member for Sales and Marketing. “And innovative ideas need supporters that promote them. We want to send a signal with our involvement with the Part‑Time Scientists and also motivate other partners to contribute their know‑how.”

I should note that the article is wrong when it states “the law prevents the rover from actually visiting” the Apollo 17 site. This law was passed by the U.S. Congress, and this Google team and Audi are not based in the U.S. They are not under its jurisdiction.


  • Emmet Ford

    Isn’t SpaceX offering a discount on the launch price to Lunar X-Prize contestants? If the German team wants to take advantage of that discount then they will need a launch license from the FAA, which they likely won’t get if they are aiming to land in close proximity to the Apollo 17 site.

  • I would hope that any effort to land on the Moon would recognize the priceless historical value of the Apollo sites, and give them a wide berth. This is an area I’d support pro-active UN intervention, because it’s only a matter of time before someone gets the bright idea to ‘grave rob’ those sites.

  • Gee, the fascist strain to use force and government control is everywhere. Why is everyone’s first instinct always to call for government control? You really think the UN (!) would protect these sites properly? Really?

    In the end any legal leverage given the UN in this would then be used at a tool by the corrupt powers that run that organization to gain more power and squelch the freedom of future space explorers. And I wouldn’t be surprised if they ended up using that power and control to then grave rob those sites anyway.

    Let freedom work here. Anyone who interferes with those sites is going to get hell with the public. It won’t pay, but only cause them harm. Thus, I have no doubt that they will freely choose to leave well enough alone, regardless of whether there is a law forbidding them to go there.

    I should add that I am referring above to private efforts, like the contestants in Google Lunar X-Prize. Stopping other governments, such as China, from salvaging these sites, will be much harder.

    In truth, the only way to really protect them is to be there, on the ground, to control them. Suggests we need to go back, doesn’t it?

  • David M. Cook

    Go back? Naaaa… there’s nothing to see there, move along people, move along.

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