Britain's Sending a Toy to the Moon

Federico Mansilla
Octubre 12, 2019

The UK's first Moon rover will be sent into space in 2021.

United Kingdom startup Spacebit signed a contract with US space robotics company Astrobotic to get the rover on board their Peregrine lander, which will carry 14 NASA instruments to the moon. Britain's rover will be the country's first to be sent to the moon, and will see it join the ranks of the U.S., China and Russian Federation which have all previously accomplished that mission.

In May, Nasa announced that Astrobotic and two other companies had been awarded funding to build lunar landers.

It is expected to land near the region of Mare Serenitatis - the Sea of Serenity - in June or July 2021.

SpaceBit will be one of those partners, sending the rover to the surface inside Astrobotic's Peregrine lander. India attempted to land its Pragyam rover in September, but misplaced contact with the Chandrayaan-2 Vikram lander.

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It also has two cameras that will enable it to take "robot selfies", SpaceBit said.

The reason for the legs is that, in future lunar missions, the rover will go into lava tubes, which has not been possible before.

"In the future we're going to commercialize this robot by selling the data we get from the moon's surface... very valuable data for the future human missions on the moon".

The first mission will see just one rover explore the surface for only one day, until the solar night falls and it ceases to operate.

Spacebit plans to run a competition to allow the public to choose the name for the new rover - despite a recent poll to name a new British research ship being won by "Boaty McBoatface".

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