What is the most important part of any off-planet exploration vehicle? A nice dash of flair in the form of a raccoon tail dangling from the tailgate.
These astronauts bopped around Cape Canaveral in a phalanx of distinctive red, white, and blue corvettes while training for Apollo 15, but their true pride and joy was the very first lunar rover.
China's Jade Rabbit (Yutu) lunar rover has broken down on the moon, and Sir Patrick Stewart has employed his thespian talents to pay tribute to the plucky robot explorer. On last night's Daily Show, Stewart dressed up as Jade Rabbit and bade a (goofy) bittersweet farewell to humanity.
Just halfway through its three-month lunar mission, China's Jade Rabbit has experienced a "mechanical control abnormality." Experts now fear the lunar rover may be permanently lost.
China's Yutu rover has been spotted by NASA's Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter Camera (LRO). The 60-inch wide robot can be seen as a pair of white pixels just east of a 1,500 (450 m) foot impact crater. Thanks to the image, we now know Yutu's exact location.
There are few things more amazing than watching humans driving a lunar rover. I mean—these guys came in a spaceship from another planet to drive a goddamn buggy on the bloody Moon. The only way to better that video is to stabilize it.
The Yutu “Jade Rabbit” rover will lift off from China this coming Sunday as a part of the Chang’e-3 mission. It'll be the first soft landing on the Moon since Russia’s Luna-24 in 1976 — a drought of 37 years.
When it comes to cool road trips and awesome driving exploits, Apollo astronauts David Scott, John Young, and Eugene Cernan pretty much have us all beat forever, seeing as how they drove on the Moon and all. At least the video up top gives some idea of what it was like to tool around the Moon.
Here's a freshly-updated infographic by SPACE.com's Karl Tate, illustrating the distances driven by various rovers on the Moon and Mars.
This contraption looks like it'd fall apart trundling over a particularly rough bit of carpeting, but it's actually much more durable than it seems. It's Lunokhod 1 and the Soviets drove it around the moon in 1970.
NASA has released their first iPhone game. It's called the NASA Lunar Electric Rover Simulator and, instead of making me happierer than a kid in a candy store wearing a Batman cape, reading the description makes me sad:
I can't say for certain how NASA comes up with its designs for lunar rovers, but my guess is that the LEGO Space system plays a big part in it. Today we're looking at Chariot, a 12-wheeled space SUV designed in 12 short months specifically for a proposed 2020 moon landing.