German Lunar X-Prize Team Lunar Mission to Prove Apollo Landing Not a Hoax

Dec 01, 2016 07:55 AM EST

A team of Germans competing at the Google Lunar X-Prize has already laid out plans for their first mission. What exactly is it? They plan to send out two probes to the Moon, all in hopes of proving that the Apollo 17 mission was truly successful.

Team PT Scientists, one out of 16 competing teams, are vying for the $30 million prize money in the said competition. Their objective is to send out two rovers to the moon to prove that the Apollo 17 mission was not a hoax.

In fact, the team has officially started with their mission. On Nov. 29, the team signed a contract to launch a lander carrying two rovers by 2017. The contract was signed with Spaceflight Industries, who works with a handful of launch service providers as well as serves as brokers for secondary payloads.

As for what vehicle the PT Scientists will be using to launch their lander, the head of electronics Karsten Becker claimed that the SpaceX Falcon 9 would be the most likely choice.

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"We are very confident that it will be a Falcon 9, but we cannot say that it will be a Falcon 9 just yet, because Spaceflight needs to confirm it with their other customers, and SpaceX," stated Becker.

The rovers which PT Scientists plan to send out are expected to touch down three to five kilometers away from the landing site of the Apollo 17. It is said to be located in the Taurus-Littrow valley of the moon. As soon as the rovers land, these would then drive within 200 meters of the lunar rover to inspect it remotely. Per NASA guidelines, the mission landings should be two kilometers away from the historic locations to avoid damages.

Where PT Scientists is concerned, the team hopes to win the lunar mission as they aspire to send out rovers to other planets. In particular, Becker stated they would want to inspect Phobos, one Mars' two larger moons.

"Phobos is a very nice outpost to Mars," stated Becker, adding it is a long-term goal for the team. "It's a very far-fetched vision."

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