Audi is sending a Quattro rover to the moon for the Google Lunar XPrize

The German car company and team Part Time Scientists partner up to send a four-wheel-drive rover to the moon, where it'll compete for $30 million in prize money.

Tim Stevens Former editor at large for CNET Cars
Tim Stevens got his start writing professionally while still in school in the mid '90s, and since then has covered topics ranging from business process management to video game development to automotive technology.
Tim Stevens
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Audi Quattro on the moon? Audi

Google is funding a $30 million new-age space race, a competition to see who can be the first to put a rover on the moon and cover 500 meters across the lunar surface, all while beaming back high-definition footage to Earth. A series of independent teams around the world are competing, and Audi just got in the game in a big way. The car manufacturer announced Thursday that is has signed on with the German team Part Time Scientists.

We visited Part Time Scientists last year to check out an earlier version of their four-wheel-drive rover as it motored across a simulated lunar environment, testing to ensure the rover's optical systems would work in the harsh conditions on the moon.

Watch this: Team Part-Time Scientists take their Google Lunar XPrize rover for a spin

The rover shall henceforth be known as the Audi Lunar Quattro. It certainly fulfills the naming criteria, with four-wheel independent drive, and I'd say the brushed aluminum finish fits quite neatly within the Audi aesthetic, too.

Audi and Part Time Scientists hope to launch the rover to the moon in 2017. Audi

Audi said in a press release Thursday it is supporting the Part Time Scientists with its knowledge in several tech fields, "from quattro all-wheel drive and lightweight construction to electric mobility and piloted driving." In addition to know-how, Audi will hopefully give the team the funding it needs to get their rover up where it belongs.

Audi and Part Time Scientists hope to launch to the moon in 2017. But, with two other GLXP teams, Astrobotic and Hakuto, planning to make their launch in 2016, Audi may be entering the race a little bit late. Regardless of who gets there first, we all win.