Audi is no stranger to branching out from cars, but its most recent project is perhaps more ambitious than usual: with a team of German scientists and engineers, it’s helping build a rover that could one day make it to the moon.

Working with a team known as Part-Time Scientists, the car manufacturer is developing the rover as part of the Google Lunar XPRIZE competition. It claims to be “supporting the [project] with... know-how in several fields of technology – from quattro all-wheel drive and lightweight construction to electric mobility and piloted driving.”

Google’s Lunar XPRIZE will give the first team that gets a rover to the moon and 500 meters across its surface to beam HD video back to Earth a $30 million prize. The idea is to drive engineers to create robust, affordable ways to explore the reaches of space.

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Audi and Part-Time Scientists plan to land their new rover on the same site where Apollo 17 completed the last manned mission to the moon. The plan to launch it some time in 2017. Let’s wait and see if they’re successful. [Audi via CNET via Engadget]