Lunar vehicles like the Perseverance Rover have done amazing things, but they’re too small to carry people. Second, the larger lunar rovers are often large, heavy-duty 4-wheel electric vehicles that take up a lot of space. However, a German motorcycle design company named Hookie has a new electric motorcycle that they hope to someday ride to the moon.
Hookie calls his new electric motorcycle prototype the Tardigrade, and every aspect of the design has lunar riding in mind. But, more importantly, NASA is busy looking for new lunar rovers, and Hookie says he’s totally up to the challenge.
To be clear, the designers, who are out of Dresden, Germany, don’t work with NASA or anything, but the idea is certainly interesting. The company’s co-founder spoke to Interesting engineering and shared some comments on the size and lightness of a two-wheeled vehicle. Then went on to say, “A lunar buggy requires almost the same space as 3-4 tardigrades. The weight is much less than that of a complete steel buggy.
NASA’s original and current moon rovers are built from aluminum frames, so steel doesn’t seem like the best choice. However, if the Hookie Tardigrade electric motorcycle weighs less but is more durable thanks to the steel construction, it looks like a win-win.
The bikes contain 10kW motors, which should charge incredibly quickly and deliver plenty of power. In comparison, NASA’s original lunar rover had four 190W motors, totaling just 0.76kW of power. The Hookie Tardigrade would therefore be a considerable upgrade.
And while much of this prototype EV motorcycle was made of steel, the Tardigrade has laser-cut aluminum frames and a lightweight Kevlar protection package to protect the drivetrain from all the elements it encounters once in. space.
Everything else in the design of the Tardigrade electric motorcycle has easy repairability in mind, including the 12 3D printed polyurethane tread airless tires.
All in all, this is certainly an interesting prototype, and the company has gone so far as to call it the world’s first concept electric lunar motorcycle. Who knows, maybe one day they’ll work with NASA and put him on the moon. NASA has experimented with the idea of motorcycles in the 1960s, so anything is possible.