The Detroit Motor Show had a rather odd attraction to offer this year. Amidst a sea of large SUVs and swanky sports cars was a small, innocuous looking kart-like machine. What it actually is, is a moon rover built by German carmaker, Audi. Audi were the first guys to bring four-wheel drive technology to passenger vehicles. Their legendary ‘Quattro’ technology has been applied to space tech now, and the results should be encouraging, if Audi’s rally history is anything to go by.
The Audi Lunar Rover emerged out of the Google Lunar XPrize competition which required a private team to build, launch and land their own lunar device. As you may have surmised from the words ‘lunar’ and ‘land’ this isn’t exactly a high school science project nor is the $30 million prize exactly chump change. Said rover is also supposed to travel a distance of 500m and send photographic evidence of having done so from space. A German team called Part-Time Scientists (PTS) scored backing from Audi, and more importantly, access to their four-wheel drive setup. All they need now is a rocket that will take their rover along.