Suzuki Goes to the Moon
Suzuki Signs a Corporate Partnership Agreement with HAKUTO, a Lunar Exploration Team to Challenge the Google Lunar XPRIZE
Suzuki Motor Corporation has signed a corporate partnership agreement with Hakuto, the first privately funded lunar exploration team from Japan, to challenge the Google Lunar XPRIZE.
Sponsored by Google, the $30M Google Lunar XPRIZE, which is maintained by XPRIZE Foundation, is an international space race in lunar robotic exploration. The purpose of this race is to advance privately funded space development, expand the space industry, promote investments to the market, and create sustainable business to develop on the Moon over a long term. The mission is to land a privately funded rover on the Moon, travel 500 meters, and transmit back high definition video and images. The first team will be awarded the $20 million Grand Prize. The second team will be awarded $5 million. Currently, 16 teams are officially participating in the competition worldwide.
In order to accomplish the mission, weight saving of the rover, which is crucial in reducing launch cost, and drivability without slipping on the lunar surface, which is covered with powdery sand called regolith, are the major challenges. Suzuki intends to support Hakuto and its mission utilising technologies such as weight saving and traction control, nurtured through creating small cars and four-wheel-drive vehicles.
Toshihiro Suzuki, Suzuki President, CEO and COO, said, “We are delighted to be able to support Hakuto and its mission of lunar exploration. Our sympathy with Hakuto challenging the dream with small rover made us decide to support the project, as we ourselves have been contributing to creating affluent societies through manufacturing small cars. We look forward to a successful lunar exploration with the rover utilising Suzuki’s technologies.”