United Kingdom to Send Lunar Rover to Moon in 2021

Category: Technology/Innovations


Unlocking Word Meanings

Read the following words/expressions found in today’s article.

  1. hopefully / ˈhoʊp fə li / (adv) – likely to happen

    The weather will hopefully improve tomorrow.

  2. uncharted / ʌnˈtʃɑr tɪd / (adj) – not yet known or explored

    We have no maps for this island because it is uncharted territory.

  3. feasibility / ˈfi zə bɪl ɪ ti / (n) – possibility

    The researchers want to study the feasibility of creating solar-powered smartphones.

  4. high-definition / haɪ dɛf əˈnɪʃ ən / (adj) – very clear and distinct

    Mike uses a high-definition camera to come up with very good photos for his company’s website.

  5. operable / ˈɒp ər ə bəl / (adj) – capable of working or being used

    The company had to replace Jim’s computer because it was no longer operable.


Read the text below.

The United Kingdom will send its first lunar rover, a spider-like robot, to the Moon in 2021.

London-based startup Spacebit developed an unnamed lunar rover to explore the Moon in a way that has not been done by previous rovers. The rover’s four legs and small size will hopefully allow it to explore lunar lava tubes, which are uncharted underground Moon tunnels. Using the rover, scientists want to determine the feasibility of using the tubes for human habitation.

The rover has many features that are important in Moon exploration. Its low overall weight of 1.5 kilograms will allow it to be easily transported to the Moon. The rover, which is solar-powered, will also be equipped with high-definition cameras and sensors that will enable taking of photos and gathering of data. The gathered data will be transmitted back to Earth.

Spacebit’s rover is one of 14 various instruments that will investigate elements on the Moon that have the potential to support astronaut life or fuel rockets in the future. The instruments will be carried by the Peregrine Lander spacecraft, which will be launched on a moon mission in 2021. The mission is a collaboration between NASA and US company Astrobotic—the creator of the Peregrine Lander.

For 10 earth days, the rover will fulfill its mission, during which the Moon will rotate. When the 10 days are over, the sun will set on the Moon’s horizon and leave the rover in darkness, making it too cold to be operable. The Peregrine Lander will return to Earth and leave Spacebit’s rover behind on the Moon.

Viewpoint Discussion

Enjoy a discussion with your tutor.

Discussion A

• Do you think Spacebit’s lunar rover is the best instrument to use in exploring uncharted underground Moon tunnels? Why or why not?
• In your opinion, should the rover be left on the Moon? Explain.

Discussion B

• If you could add a feature to a lunar rover (e.g. temperature control), what would it be? Why?
• What are the advantages and disadvantages of using robots to explore the Moon? Explain.