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An internationally assembled team called PTScientist have announced their plans to visit the moon in 2018 in conjunction with the car manufacturers, Audi.
Independent space team plan to recover NASA’s Apollo 17 moon buggy
The team’s plan to visit the moon has been in the making since 2009. They have since been developing a top of the range moon rover that will independently transverse the lunar surface. The buggy, which has been developed by Audi has been called the Audi Lunar Quattro and is described as being an incredibly sophisticated four-wheeled drive electric vehicle. The buggy is fitted with movable solar panels, rechargeable batteries, and incredibly advanced camera technology.
PTScientist plan to land the rover within the general proximity of the landing site of Apollo 17. According to company spokesperson Karsten Becker, they plan to land approximately five kilometers from where the previous NASA mission touched down. They intend to examine the moon buggy which was abandoned on the moon in the course of the Apollo 17 mission. This will allow them to investigate the condition of the buggy after almost fifty years on the lunar surface to see what kind of damage and build-up of dust it has accumulated over the years. They intend to see if the buggy has been damaged by micro-meteorites or affected by radiation.
The planned investigation is of interest to a number of space agencies from all over the world. The European Space Agency, in particular, has shown a huge amount of interest in the project as they intend to build a base on the moon at some point in the future. This requires them to know how resilient materials were when they subjected to the harsh environment of the Moon over a long period of time. Therefore, this project presents them with a huge opportunity to fine tune their own plans.
NASA have also taken a keen interest in the proposed mission, and they have demanded that the team from PTScientist meet with a number of conditions before they allow the mission to go ahead. They have demanded that the team does not land within a two-kilometer radius of the Apollo 17 landing and they are not allowed within 200 meters of the landing site with the buggy. While NASA has said that these rules are intended to preserve a site of ‘cultural legacy,’ eyebrows are certain to be raised about NASA’s secrecy surrounding the landing site. NASA famously abruptly canceled its exploration missions to the Moon in the late 1970s and had never returned to the Earth’s natural satellite.
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