Moon rover debuts in Alien movie

VIDEO: REUTERS

LONDON (REUTERS) - An unusual character has made its debut at the premiere of Alien: Covenant in London.

This space rover is set to reach the moon later this year - as well as featuring in the latest instalment of the science-fiction franchise.

Lead designer of moon rover Audi Lunar Quattro Robert Boehme said: "It has been 40 to 50 years since we have been on the moon so getting back there, getting the knowledge, is quite a big challenge that we are facing."

The Audi Lunar Quattro rover is mostly made of aluminium and weighs in at just 30kg. Its hybrid engine is powered by a 100 watt solar panel - technology that comes from its German carmaker backer.

Mr Boehme said: "The rover has four wheels which can be steered independently, which allows us to turn on the spot and drive sideways. It also has three cameras, two of which are for regular stereo vision and one is a scientific camera which allows us to analyse the moon buggy."

Designers at Part Time Scientists, the team behind the moon rover, hope to get the rover close to the landing site of the last manned mission to the moon, Apollo 17.

"There is a saying that one of your calculators has more calculation power than the Apollo 17 had for landing," Mr Boehme added. "If you look at today's technology, everything is very power-efficient, very small and readily available for us."

The lunar quattro is set to join a mission to the moon by the end of the year.

It will be one of the first privately funded rovers to do so.