By Dave Crawley


PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — “Our goal is to make the moon accessible to the world.”

With that announcement, Astrobotic Technology CEO John Thornton announced that Germany has joined the Strip District company’s mission to the moon.

“This is our delivery truck that takes payloads from around the world,” he later said, referring to the model of a landing ship. “And we fly and land on the surface of the moon. So we’ll take science instruments, exploration devices, even marketing experiences to the surface.”

He says the lunar delivery company will carry payloads from at least six countries on four continents.

“We’re like a UPS or FedEx to the moon. We take packages from all over the world,” he says. “We bolt them up on our lander, and fly regularly to the surface.”

Astrobotic works hand in hand with NASA and the Robotics Lab at CMU. Chief scientist Red Whittaker says the lunar rover aims to uncover scientific data that NASA’s Apollo missions missed.

“The first is a great deal of water and ice at the poles, and the other is a whole world underground, below the surface of the moon,” he says.

On the first moon visit, at least two years from now, Astrobotic’s rover will compete with models from Japan and Chile.

“Those three rovers will be dropped to the surface, drive off as fast as they can, and be competing in the Google Lunar X-prize,” Thornton said. “Be the first to go 500 meters.”

The winner gets $20 million. That’s clearly out of this world.

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