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Earlier today, the Indian Space Research Organisation successfully launched Chandrayaan-2, which is its second moon mission. This comes close on the heels of the 50th anniversary of man setting foot on the moon.
It was on 20 July, 1969 when Astronauts Neil Armstrong and Edwin Aldrin first set foot on the moon, making history. In honour of completing 50 years since that amazing feat, Polaris has created a working replica of the Lunar Rover used by the two astronauts.
Polaris is the leader in the off-road utility and recreational vehicle market with its famed line of ATVs and hence the company thought it only fitting to pay tribute to the ultimate off-road exploration vehicle — the Lunar Rover Vehicle (LRV).
The original LRV driven by Neil Armstrong and Edwin Aldrin is still on the moon, probably covered under tonnes of moon dust. But the molds used to make the body panels of that very LRV are very much on earth, at NASA's facility.
Polaris used the same molds to make the iconic orange-coloured fenders. Polaris Industries teamed up with the US Space & Rocket Center (USSRC) to recreate the original LRV. The replica is identical to the original LRV in almost every way, except of course for the parts used to power it.
Polaris didn't just want to create a replica but also wanted to use parts and components from its entire range of off-road vehicles. This fuses Polaris's 65-year-old history with the 50-year-old history of the Lunar Rover Vehicle.
Components like the steering rack, arms, half shafts, brakes, electric motor, controller, battery, etc were taken from Polaris' line-up of snowmobiles, motorcycles, slingshots, ATVs, side-by-sides, EVs and military vehicles. The Lunar Rover Vehicle replica was displayed at different locations across America.
Bryan Ogle, manager of manufacturing at Polaris said, "Having the opportunity to honor legends, work with members of the original crew and lend our expertise and technologies to build this Lunar Rover Replica has been incredible. One of the coolest things was being able to mold the fiberglass fenders using the original 50-year-old molds. And now seeing it in action, riding it, it's amazing."
Chandrayaan-2, the second Indian mission to the moon too would be using a rover on the moon. The moon rover used by Chandrayaan-2 is called Pragyan, and it would be used to collect close images of the lunar surface to study the rocks for elements like magnesium, calcium, iron, and most importantly, confirm the presence of water.
Pragyan will be taken to the moon's surface through a lander called Vikram. The entire mission is expected to take around 58 days to complete. Chandrayaan-1 just made use of an orbiter to get us imagery of the moon.
Chandrayaan-2 will put a rover on the lunar surface. Chandrayaan-3 will attempt to put Indian astronauts on the moon in 2022. With Chandrayaan-2, the first pictures of the lunar surface will be available within 15 minutes of the lander's touch-down. The rover will have a life of around 14 earth days or 1 lunar day to complete its research work.
Thoughts On Chandrayaan-2 Launched Successfully While Polaris Creates Lunar Rover As a Tribute
The explorations of mankind are ever so increasing. With Chandrayaan-2, India becomes one of the four countries to have ever put a rover on the moon. On that note, the LRV created by Polaris too is an icon of sorts because it was made using the same moulds but is underpinned by modern Polaris mechanicals.