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  • Writer's picturebidyut gogoi

Canadian startup developing lunar rover to deliver power

A Canadian business is creating a rover that it hopes to send to the moon in the upcoming years to power other spacecraft there.

The Mobile Electricity Rover (MPR), a rover that can wirelessly charge other vehicles on the lunar surface and produce power from its solar arrays, was unveiled by Toronto-based STELLS on Nov. 21.

By 2025, it plans to send its MPR-1 rover to the south polar regions of the moon as a payload aboard an Intuitive Machines lander.

CEO of STELLS Alex Kapralov stated in an interview that he founded the business to create a rover for scientific missions.

He said that the corporation explored installing a radioisotope thermoelectric generator aboard their rover, but decided against it due to technical and legal issues.

The business chose to go for a rover that could produce and transmit solar electricity to other vehicles on the lunar surface instead.

The rover will go to a customer's vehicle and use wireless technologies to transmit electricity. A different strategy would be to leave the wireless charging unit in the crater and then move the rover into the sunlight so that it can generate power and transfer it via a cable to the charging unit that other vehicles would travel to.

According to Kapralov, the business has finished a prototype of the rover and has begun work on a "proto-flight" model that is more like the actual rover. He anticipates some commercial usage of the power transfer capabilities of the MPR-1 rover, which weighs around 30 kilos.

Despite the lack of formal contracts, he stated, "We are contemplating relationships with people who are joining us on the lander."

STELLS is not the first business to attempt to set up a power grid on the moon. In September, Astrobotic unveiled plans for LunaGrid, a project that would integrate its work on lunar landers with a separate effort to create vertical solar arrays that were suitable for deployment at the lunar poles. Customers would receive the electricity via tethered rovers.

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