A total of three electric vehicles called Moon Buggy (Lunar Roving Vehicle) were brought to the moon by NASA in 1971 and 1972 – where they are still standing. The all-terrain four-wheeled two-seater should increase the mobility of the astronauts on the earth’s satellite and transport payloads. The 3.1-meter-long and 210-kilogram vehicles could be replaced on future lunar missions by a lighter two-wheeler alternative from Dresden, the lunar motorcycle Tardigrade.
Mobile prototype for moon motorcycle
Tardigrades are called tardigrades in this country. The living beings, which are less than a millimeter in size, are known to be able to survive extreme environmental conditions in cryptobiosis, a death-like state. The Saxon motorcycle design company Hookie apparently wants to give its moon motorcycle of the same name a similar resilience. The company from Dresden has developed a drivable prototype for an electrically powered lunar research vehicle.
The moon motorcycle is 2.6 Meters long and 0.9 meters high. Thanks to the use of ultra-light materials, it should be significantly lighter at 134 kilograms than the Nasa vehicle of the 1970s. According to Hookie co-founder Nico Müller, a moon buggy needs three to four times as much space as Tardigrade. Together with the lower weight, the moon motorcycle could be transported to the moon much cheaper. The price per kilogram for transport to the moon is currently 2,720 US dollars, as reported by Interesting Engineering.
No Tüv, lots of freedom in design
When designing the moon motorcycle, Hookie – with his permission – was inspired by a design by the Russian artist Andrew Fabishevskiy. Because there was no TÜV approval to consider for the vehicle, Hookie had a lot of freedom in the design, according to Müller. For the frame, for example, ten millimeters thin aluminum is used, which has been wrapped in an exoskeleton. A Kevlar cover protects the drive train from space radiation and impacts. The e-drive comes from the Swedish e-bike specialist Cake.
The moon motorcycle should travel 110 kilometers with a maximum speed of 15 kilometers per hour on one battery charge . So far, Hookie does not have a contract with a space agency like NASA. Nasa has the project on the screen, so Müller. Hookie is open to appropriate discussions about a collaboration. After all, NASA is currently planning a comeback on the moon as part of the Artemis project. Russia and China also have long-term plans on the moon.