The UK-based space start-up, SpaceBit has revealed its plans to send a rover to the lunar surface in 2021. The spider-like device will be the first British lunar rover as well as the first to walk on its feet instead of wheels. In addition, the rover will be the smallest lunar rover ever, according to SpaceBit.
The rover, called the Walking Rover, will be delivered to the moon using Astrobotic’s Peregrine lander. The rover will be dropped on the lunar surface along with other payloads.
As you can see in the pictures, the Walking Rover looks like a small mechanical spider and weighs just 1.3 kg (2.9 lb). The solar-powered rover is equipped with four legs for effective movement on the surface of the earth’s permanent natural satellite.
During the first mission, the moon rover will walk for 10 meters from the lander. The rover will receive a number of sensors, including a 3D LiDAR sensor and two HD cameras, which will take pictures of the lunar surface.
Legs expected to allow Walking Rover to explore tubular caves on the moon created by ancient lava flows, which hasn’t been done before. The robot will travel on the lunar surface take pictures, shoot videos and collect data. In this case, the device can explore small caves and other places inaccessible to large devices. The collected data will be then sent back to the Astrobotic’s lander before being transmitted to Earth. The rover is designed to last just one lunar day (10 Earth days).
The startup revealed its plan of rover landing on October 10, at a New Scientist Live event in London, where the SpaceBit’s founder and CEO Pavlo Tanasyuk showed off the rover. It also announced a contract with the US space robotics company Astrobotic, which was awarded $79.5 million by NASA to carry up to 14 of their instruments to the Moon, along with two other companies.