This is probably the closest we’re getting to a real-life Yogi’s Space Race.
As the possibility of returning to the moon’s surface becomes more and more real, minds have been wandering away from the usual bevy of scientific experiments and toward silly projects to answer questions nobody has ever asked. For example, considering the gravity and terrain of the moon, what would it look like if a couple of remote-controlled cars were to race across the surface? I’m sure literally nobody has ever asked that, but SpaceX is doing it anyway.
SpaceX has announced plans to launch a very particular Falcon 9 rocket to the moon around October 2021. Contained in this rocket will be two space-age RC cars that will be raced around the moon for not much besides giggles and bragging rights. The event is being organized by several space-adjacent companies, including Moon Mark, Intuitive Machines, and Lunar Outpost.
The ones designing the RC cars will actually be two teams of high school students who were scouted after worldwide qualifying rounds. These two teams competed in gaming, drone racing, space commercialization entrepreneurship to see who had the chops to send a car to the moon. The final two teams that will be designing and sending their vehicles are “Team Atlas” from Buenos Aires, and “Team Ilstar” from Shanghai.
However, brilliant as these kids are, they are still high schoolers, so they may be working a bit above their pay grade. In order to help them through the designing process, SpaceX has recruited prolific vehicle designer Frank Stephenson, known for his work at BMW, Ferrari, Maserati, McLaren, and more, to lend a hand, a request Stephenson was all too happy to grant.
“This is a project helping to develop the innovators of the future, allowing them to dream big and realize that nothing is impossible,” Stephenson said in a statement.
“Space is a fascinating place, remaining untapped for budding designers and I’m very much looking forward to sharing some of my knowledge to those involved in this innovative project,” he added.