Private Mission To Moon: PTScientists Mull To Launch 2 Lunar Rovers Atop SpaceX Falcon 9 In 2018
The race to become the first private group to make a landing on the moon is underway, and a European team of scientists are planning for that event.
The team, known as PTScientists, developed two rovers and a landing module, it plans to launch on board the SpaceX-owned Falcon 9 rocket in 2018.
The expedition plans to land in the Taurus-Littrow valley, which is in a 2-mile radius of the site of the Apollo 17 mission.
The scientists are primarily going to search for NASA's moon buggy, which remained on the Earth's satellite since 1971.
The buggy or LRV is a battery-operated four wheeler rover used while on an expedition to the moon. It was used for the last three missions of the Apollo Programs by the American government in 1971 and 1972.
PTScientists' mission will look for the lost buggy on the moon's surface, and will also try to establish the condition it is in after all these years.
On March 19, the scientists announced that they will be collaborating with telecommunications company Vodafone, to find communication solutions during the length of the mission.
"This is a crucial first step for sustainable exploration of the solar system. In order for humanity to leave the cradle of Earth, we need to develop infrastructures beyond our home planet," said Robert Boehme, CEO of PTScientists.
PTScientists has been researching on its lander, which is an independent navigation and landing module, and two rovers since the last two years.
These rovers will be solar operated and have been developed by Audi. This device will be able to move around the lunar surface at 2.2 miles per hour.
The rovers include two stereo cameras that are able to click 3D images. It also has a third camera which has the ability to record and capture panoramic images.
Will PTScientists Be Successful?
PTScientists were part of a global competition known as Google Lunar X Prize, whose winning reward is about $30 million. The competition is tough as countries from all around the globe participate.
To win the competition, teams have to become the first one to reach the moon, to investigate, and send images and videos back to Earth.
PTScientists need to launch their expedition before the end of 2017 to remain in the running for the competition. However, the team would not be able to meet this deadline and so has been disqualified from the competition.
The team, however, is positive that it can become the first private company to reach the moon, especially after Vodafone stepped in to help it with the communication aspects.