The UK is Sending a Robotic Spider to the Lunar Surface

SpaceBit to secure spot aboard Astrobotic Peregrine lander for a robotic spider lunar rover.
Image credit: SpaceBit

The United Kingdom is preparing to send its first rover to the surface of the Moon aboard Astrobotic’s Peregrine lander. The spider-like Moon Crawler rover will be heading to the Moon aboard the lander in 2021.

SpaceBit, a UK-based space startup announced that it had secured a place for the Moon Crawler rover aboard the Peregrine lander on October 10 at the New Scientist Live event in London. The rover will join 14 NASA payloads, a contract that awarded Astrobotic with $79.5 million in funding and 13 other commercial payloads.

The 1.3-kilogram Moon Crawler rover is reportedly the smallest to ever be sent to another celestial body. It is equipped with a small solar array, a server motor in each of its four legs, lidar, and a camera. According to the SpaceBit website, the rover is capable of jumping and utilising “swarm intelligence”, hinting that the mission may be the first of many.

Once the Peregrine lander touches down on the surface of the Moon, the Moon Crawler rover will drop from beneath the lander to the lunar surface. It will then walk 10 meters away from the lander and transmit high-definition video from its camera and 3D data collected by its Lidar system.

The Peregrine lander will be launched aboard the United Launch Alliance (ULA) Vulcan Centaur rocket. The mission will be the first aboard the next-generation rocket. It will serve as one of two certification flights required before it can be used to launch US Air Force national security missions. It is believed that Astrobotic received a significant discount for agreeing to launch aboard the rocket’s first certification mission.

Andrew Parsonson is a space enthusiast and the founder of Rocket Rundown. He has worked as a journalist and blogger for various industries for over 5 years and has a passion for both fictional and real-life space travel. Currently, Andrew is the primary writer for Rocket Rundown as we look to expand our reach and credibility.