SpaceX plans to race remote-controlled racecars on the Lunar Surface
SpaceX plans to drive remote-controlled vehicles on the moon in 2021 and has put together a legendary Ferrari designer to help. An ambitious startup is bringing a pair of 5.5 pounds, remotely operated sports cars to the lunar surface to stage the first-ever car race on the Moon, New Atlas reports—and the SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket will help them get there as early as October 2021. The race is being organized by Moon Mark, a digital and educational content provider that has collaborated with Intuitive Machines, a Houston-based aerospace company. Intuitive Machines argues that it will quickly become “the first private aerospace company to land on the Moon,” according to a new press release.
SpaceX Will Launch Remote Controlled Racecars to Lunar Surface. A new project is sending remotely-controlled racecars to the lunar surface in an attempt to hold the first-ever car race on the Moon.
Just eight percent of the 100-kilogram payload comes from remote-control vehicles speeding through the sandy dunes of Oceanus Procellarum, a vast plain on the western edge of the nearby side of the Earth. The remainder of the cargo is provided by NASA as part of the Commercial Lunar Payload Services (CLPS) program, which is setting the groundwork for bringing astronauts back to the surface of the Moon in 2024, according to the April press release.
Moon Mark is a digital education content organization. The Drive notes that the launch of this Moon race competition has drawn a lot of interest from all over the car-design and racing worlds. Moon Mark has employed renowned car designer Frank Stephenson, best known for his revived Mini Cooper, McClaren P1, and Ferrari F430, to help the children design their lunar whips. Herman Tilke, who designed a number of F1 circuits, would design the circuit for the Moon run. Ross Bentley is now signed to be the race coach of the Moon-eyed racers.
The racecars themselves will be partly built by six teams of high school children from around the world, as New Atlas reports. The top two teams emerging from a series of challenges would “win a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to build and race two vehicles on the Moon,” according to a February press release.
However, these Moon Label racecars will not be traveling with Astrobotic. They will be flying in a Nova-C lander made by Intuitive Computers, which will be sent out to space at the tip of the SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket with the planned launch date of October 2021. The “first lunar lander wholly developed by a private company,” the Nova-C will land in the Oceanus Procellarum, near the large canyon-sized Schröter Gorge, and its chief duty is to perform an initial survey of the area.
“Then competitors will race their rovers remotely, navigate through rough terrain, race around a camera sphere that captures every aspect,” reads the statement. Moon Mark CTO Todd Wallach told New Atlas that the teams will have “near real-time visuals, telemetry and command, and control” of the racecars.
On November 25, SpaceX launched the Falcon 9 rocket for the 100th time, sending 60 Starlink Internet satellites to orbit. It was also the company’s 23rd flight of the year and the seventh successful mission of the rocket—the most SpaceX ever accomplished by any single Falcon 9 rocket.
Formula One racecar circuit designer Herman Tilke is going to design the track on the Moon. “They know the lunar surface, it has been scanned to the point where it has enough information to develop this track,” said the automobile designer Frank Stephenson on the website.
Vehicle models would need to take into account a variety of considerations, from dust consuming the circuitry to a slightly lower force of gravity. “It’s more about, let’s say, dust filtration, traction, weight, materials, endurance, stability,” Stephenson said to New Atlas, adding that the cars would need a way to get right after a few tricky hops.