The race is on to produce an All Wheel Drive vehicle to visit the moon and complete a bit of off roading. Yes you read it correctly.
A competition has been announced backed by tech giant google, known as the Google Lunar XPRIZE.
The idea is simple, build a moon buggy, a rocket that blast it across 236,000 miles of space for a five day period to get to the moon, land it, then operate it. The moon rovers must travel at least 500 meters and transmit images and video back to HQ here on the blue planet.
Win, and you get $US30 million, or about £21 million. Originally 36 teams entered the race but that has now whittled down to just 16.
The competition requires all 16 teams, including the Audi-backed ‘Part-Time Scientists’, to fully develop a vehicle capable of operating in the extremes of vacuum, where the temperature can drop to absolute zero, or minus 273˚. centigrade.
The Quattro named rover is considerably smaller and lighter than the Audi passenger SUV range, weighing in at 35kg and the size of a medium dog and a little slower with a top speed of 3.6km/h.
Power is derived from an adjustable solar panel that powers a lithium battery that in turn runs four motors in each wheels axle that can individually drive and rotate through 360˚.