One-Day Astronauts May Zoom Across the Moon on This Lunar Motorbike

Hookie, a German motorbike business, has created the first two-wheeled lunar vehicle idea, eschewing Moon buggies in favor of a more Star Wars-like mode of traversing the dry region. Their moon bike dubbed the “Tardigrade,” is a fictitious design based on NASA’s lunar rovers that would drive over the Moon at a top speed of 15 kilometers per hour (9 miles per hour), somewhat quicker than current lunar vehicles but substantially more maneuverable. You might wonder why it has called the Tardigrade. The toughness and astonishing survivability of microscopic water bear according to Hookie – “the bike would hopefully travel a little faster.”

Creating a lunar racer is no easy job, even if it appears to be simple (though futuristic) electric bike. Vehicles must be extremely light while also being sturdy enough to resist harsh situations and dependable enough to require only minor maintenance when exploring another world’s surface. Although it has been 50 years since humans first drove on the Moon, we are still not ready to call in a lunar mechanic.

To create such a bike, the designers chose a 10-millimeter aluminum frame that would cover with a more durable tubular exoskeleton. The bike’s main drive would then be covered in Kevlar and aluminum to protect it from radiation, cold, and minor collisions, a concept frequently utilized in lunar vehicles to defend against radiation, cold, and minor impacts. The concept would weigh roughly 140 kilograms (300 pounds), making it two-thirds the weight of the existing lunar buggy and taking up a fraction of the space – both of which are important considerations when considering payloads for space missions.

“A moon buggy takes up approximately the same amount of space as three to four Tardigrades,” Hookie co-founder Nico Müller told Interesting Engineering. “It’s a fraction of the weight of a fully assembled steel buggy.” A stylish new space motorbike suit completed the design, which was set onto custom-designed wheels to bear the bike’s weight with ease.

The Moon’s surface, however, presents more obstacles than just the motorcycle itself; even the lubricant must be created specifically for electric motorcycles and appropriate for extraterrestrial activities. As a result, Hookie teamed up with PURAGLOBE to develop a lubricant that is perfect for the task. In a statement provided to IFLScience, Hookie co-founder Sylvia Müller remarked, “That was an unbelievable lot of labor, and even for us, this was extremely unique.” NASA left “speechless” by the notion, according to the creators.

Although the Tardigrade is still a concept, it is rapidly becoming a reality. Hookie is now working on the bike and will supposedly unveil it during the ADV: Overland exhibition at the Petersen Museum later this month (California). Who knows, maybe astronauts may be racing buggies and bikes as NASA pushes for a human presence on the Moon with the Artemis missions.