UK’s first Moon rover to be launched in 2021

The four-legged Space Bit rover superimposed on

The four-legged Space Bit rover superimposed on

The UK's first Moon rover will be sent into space in 2021.

A UK-grown start-up company has announced plans to land a rover on the Moon within two years.

He added that, unlike rovers with wheels or tracks, this robot with four legs would provide an opportunity for "something a little bit like a human" to explore the lunar surface. Britain's rover will be the country's first to be sent to the moon, and will see it join the ranks of the U.S., China and Russian Federation which have all previously accomplished that mission.

Astrobotic's Peregrine lander is taking a bundle of NASA and private equipment to the moon, with a total of 28 small payloads set to deploy when it lands. Spacebit's CEO Pavlo Tanasyuk said: "We could not be more excited to fly this mission with Astrobotic".

Once the lander reaches the Moon, the 3lb 5oz (1.5kg) rover will drop from beneath it to the surface along with other payloads.

The rover is battery-powered, but a small solar panel will also harness energy from the Sun.

"In the future we're going to commercialize this robot by selling the data we get from the moon's surface... very valuable data for the future human missions on the moon".

The SpaceBit rover can withstand temperatures from up to 130C (266F) to minus 130C (minus 202F) at night, and will explore for the duration of a lunar day. "And also we are planning to potentially go into mass production of this rover so we can explore our solar system and run low-priced missions to the moon and beyond", Tanasyuk said.

SpaceBit said it planned to launch a competition asking United Kingdom schoolchildren to name the rover before it left Earth.

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