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A Private Space Mission Is Being Proposed To Land At Apollo 17 Site; Award Will Be Given By XPRize

First Posted: Dec 02, 2016 02:04 AM EST
Mars Science Laboratory Curiosity Rover Animation
Animation depicts key events of NASA's Mars Science Laboratory mission, which will launch in late 2011 and land a rover.
(Photo : NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory/YouTube Screenshot)

The Apollo 17 site that has been abandoned for a couple of years will soon be visited. Recently, space mission plans to visit the landing site of Apollo 17 on the Moon have been proposed. The award will be given by the XPrize.

A team from Germany wants to inspect the buggy that was left behind by the last crew mission to the Moon in 1972. Thus, they want to land a pair of the rover on the lunar surface.

One out of the 16 contenders the group called PT Scientist is striving for the $30 million Google Lunar XPrize. They will be teaming up and already signed the deal with the lunch broker Spaceflight Inc. for them to secure a ride on a commercial launcher.

The XPrize will be awarding the first privately funded teams that successfully land a robot on the Moon. Also, the teams should able to travel more than 500 meters or 1,640 feet and send back videos and images in high definition.

Meanwhile, the Spaceflight Inc. will place the mission with a commercial launcher. However, it is not yet identified which one.

In line with this, the PT Scientists have been working hand in hand with the German car manufacturer famously known as the Audi. The German company will help them with the solar-powered rovers that will be used to send back the high-definition images and videos.

The team's rover driver Karsen Becker said that "Has it been ripped to shreds by micrometeoroids or is it still standing there like on the day they left? This is scientifically a very interesting site for us," according to The New Scientist.  

However, there are some challenges the team should complete. The rovers are expected to touch down 3 to 5 kilometers from the Apollo 17 landing site on the Moon's Taurus-Littrow valley. It will when drive within the 200 meters of the lunar rover and inspect it remotely.

Thus, NASA will be listing some guidelines. Of which, the missions should land at least 2 kilometers away from the U.S. space agency heritage sites and will not go 200 meters near in order to avoid damages to these historic locations, according to BBC News

As follows, the camera from the rover should be able to assess the condition of the Apollo buggy, as well as how it handles the Moon's unlikely environment that includes damages coming from the micro-meteorites.

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