Two remote-controlled race cars will be landed on the lunar surface which will be driven by high school students for the first-ever race on Moon in 2021.
Moon Mark, an entertainment and education company, is sponsoring the race that will see teams of students compete to design and drive one of two racers.
The winning teams will then work with McLaren P1 designer Frank Stephenson to create a vehicle that will race across the low-gravity environment of the Moon, Dailymail UK reported.
The cars will be launched to the Moon on a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket and descend to the surface inside the first privately developed lunar lander.
In the interesting contest of eight weeks of qualifying by high-schoolers from around the world, six teams of five members will compete to become the final two that race on the Moon.
Those challenges included e-gaming, drone racing and a space commercialisation entrepreneurship contest until a final two teams were confirmed.
Their adventures will be captured, produced and globally distributed by Moon Mark so people can follow their progress on the run up to the October launch.
The two racers will deploy on the Moon via the Nova-C lander by Houston-based Intuitive Machines, following a SpaceX Falcon 9 launch in late 2021.
It is a heavy load going to the lunar surface – each car will weight 5.5lb and the lander to get them to the surface will weigh another 6.6lb – a total of 17.6lb.
While the cost of the launch hasn’t been revealed – other firms quote $544,000 per lb to send objects to the Moon – a nearly $10 million cost.
The Nova-C lander is the ‘first lunar lander wholly developed by a private company’ and is expected to touch down in the Oceanus Procellarum.
The lander is heading to the Moon next year to survey the grand canyon-sized Schröter’s Valley but will deploy the pair of race cars at the same time.
The final two teams of students will complete the racer designs in Houston, Texas, before being loaded onto the lander that will transport them to the Moon.
Moon Mark is working with a number of private space firms, including Lunar Outpost who have expertise in developing lunar rover vehicles.
The final track and layout on the Moon hasn’t been confirmed by the Moon Mark team but it is being designed by Hermann Tilke – who has designed all the recent Formula One tracks around the world.
If the Nova-C lander successfully touches down on the Moon it will be the first private spacecraft to do so – and one of only a few projects to succeed.
So far only the US, China and Russia have made a successful soft landing on the lunar surface – others have tried including India – but missions have failed to land safely or have been lost.
Assuming Nova-C lands safely, not only will this be the first race on the surface of the Moon, but will also be the first private landing – potentially spearheading a new commercial Moon race.
The Moon is back in the global news due to China sending a mission to bring back rock samples from the lunar surface – due to return in December, and the US sending the first woman and next man to the surface by 2024.