Space

Britain's first moon lander set to walk on lunar surface in 2021

Britain's first moon lander se...
Spacebit's Walking Rover is designed to walk and even jump in the low lunar gravity
Spacebit's Walking Rover is designed to walk and even jump in the low lunar gravity
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Artist's concept of the Peregrine lander
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Artist's concept of the Peregrine lander
Spacebit's Walking Rover is designed to walk and even jump in the low lunar gravity
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Spacebit's Walking Rover is designed to walk and even jump in the low lunar gravity

A British start-up has revealed its plan to land a walking rover on the Moon 2021. On October 10 at a New Scientist Live event in London, Spacebit's founder and CEO Pavlo Tanasyuk showed off the rover, which is not only the first to use legs instead of wheels to move about but will also be the smallest lunar rover ever launched.

If successful, Spacebit's Walking Rover, as it is called, would not only be the first commercial rover to reach the Moon but would also make Britain the fourth nation to accomplish a lunar surface mission after the US, Russia, and China.

According to Spacebit, the Rover will be carried to the lunar surface by the Astrobotic's Peregrine lander, which is scheduled to launch under a US$79.5 million contract atop a Vulcan Centaur rocket from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida in 2021.

Artist's concept of the Peregrine lander
Artist's concept of the Peregrine lander

The Walking Rover will weigh under 1.3 kg (2.9 lb) and be powered by a solar-charged battery that will keep it running during its 10-day mission. It has swarm intelligence and as well as walking on its four legs it can jump in the low lunar gravity.

The Rover will be equipped with sensors, including 3D LIDAR and two HD video cameras that will allow it to snap images of the lunar surface and take selfies. In addition, its legs will let it make the first direct exploration of the Moon's lava tubes.

"We have to explore and research the environments and resources of other planets to help us create sustainability on Earth," says Tanasyuk.

Source: Spacebit

2 comments
guzmanchinky
It's HAL9000.
buzzclick
At first I thought it should have wheels, but when I realized how small it is I knew little wheels wouldn't get it far. So now I think it should have six legs and the capability of righting itself up if it ends up in a spill. Why would this little rover only have a 10-day mission? All that money for such a short trip?