High school students will race remote-controlled cars on the moon in 2021
Anyone who has played Mario Kart has raced wide, but several high school students will compete out of the stratosphere without Nintendo’s help by taking part in the Moon Mark event that will be held around the moon in 2021. Participants will race straight from our planet using purpose-designed remote-controlled cars.
Launched earlier in 2021, part one from the project encouraged students from around the world to design a race car that can operate and win around the moon. Regulations stated that racers required to weigh a maximum of 11 pounds, which is substantially lighter than the original lunar rover, and be able to deal with the lunar climate, which is hot during the day and very cold at night. They also had to be equipped with a concise battery, a Wi-Fi module, along with a single board computer (SBC), among other mandatory parts, but participants were liberated to test out wheels, different suspension setups, tank-like tracks, legs, or something else entirely.
Significantly, the work brief only asked for an electronic model. Only the two winning designs is going to be built and raced.
Moon Mark recruited British designer Frank Stephenson to help the two finalists put the final touches on their lunar racer. His resume includes helping draw the very first BMW-developed Mini Cooper, the last-generation Fiat 500, and many recent McLaren models, such as the P1 and the 720S. He currently operates their own design firm.
German engineer Hermann Tilke uses high-definition scans from the lunar surface to create the track the cars will race on. It’s too early to tell the number of turns it'll have, or just how long its straight will be, but we trust Tilke’s judgement; he’s a well-known name in racing circles. He helped overhaul the Nürburgring and also the Fuji Speedway, and that he designed over a dozen tracks including the Bahrain International Circuit and the Yas Marina Circuit.
The international teams selected to compete within the inaugural Moon Mark series will earn their position on the starting grid through qualifying rounds that will be held on the planet in early 2021. Houston-based Intuitive Machines will then go ahead and take racers towards the moon via an unmanned Nova-C lander that’s hitching a ride on a SpaceX Falcon 9 mission throughout the other half of 2021. It will likewise manage the event’s video transmissions and its numerous communication needs. Moon Mark has tentatively scheduled the race for October 2021.
“We do not expect significant communications delays as impacting the race or even the drivability of the vehicles. We'll have near-real-time visuals, telemetry, and command and control,” explained Todd Wallach, Moon Mark’s chief technical officer, within an interview with New Atlas. He added the lander will get commands from remote controls located on Earth, and that it will communicate with the race cars using a Wi-Fi connection.
Moon Mark describes itself as an entertainment and education company, so it’s not going through the fabulously expensive procedure for sending remote-controlled cars towards the moon solely for clicks and views. “Following a race itself, the vehicles will move into their scientific mission, remaining on the lunar surface indefinitely,” said Mary Hagy, the founder and CEO of Moon Mark. Just what they’ll do there is, pardon the pun, still in the environment.