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Hyundai and Kia set their sights on the moon

29 July 2022 - 09:12 By Staff Writer
In June South Korea became the world’s 10th nation to place a satellite into space with its own technology, and a future moon mission is on the cards.
In June South Korea became the world’s 10th nation to place a satellite into space with its own technology, and a future moon mission is on the cards.

Hyundai and Kia are going to the moon. The sister automotive companies, who pioneered technologies such as robotics and Advanced Air Mobility (AAM), are expanding their vision beyond the bounds of Earth into space.

Hyundai and Kia have signed agreements with six Korean research institutes and formed a consultative body to develop mobility solutions to explore the surface of the moon.

The announcement follows Korea’s successful launch of a domestically produced rocket in June. The launch made South Korea the world’s 10th nation to place a satellite in space with its own technology, though it hasn't stated when it plans to go to the moon.

“We have taken the first step towards transforming our vision for robotics and the concept of Metamobility into reality,” said Yong Wha Kim, executive vice-president and head of the R&D planning & co-ordination centre of Hyundai and Kia.

There are three rovers on the moon from the Apollo missions. Picture: Getty Images
There are three rovers on the moon from the Apollo missions. Picture: Getty Images
Image: Getty Images

The six research institutes are the Korea Atomic Energy Research Institute (Kaeri); Korea Aerospace Research Institute (Kari); Korea Astronomy and Space Science Institute (Kasi); Korea Automotive Technology Institute (Katech); Korea Institute of Civil Engineering and Building Technology (Kict); and Electronics and Telecommunications Research Institute (EtriI).

The collaboration is expected to start in August, with Hyundai and Kia to support the consultative body with their smart mobility technologies.

With no air, extreme temperatures and countless craters and coatings of lunar dust composed of sharp and abrasive particles, the moon’s surface is an exceptionally harsh environment. 

Lunar exploration is back in vogue with China, South Korea, India and Russia among the countries working on moon missions. Nasa aims to return to the moon in 2025 — more than 50 years after US astronauts last walked there during the Apollo programme — and astronauts will need new rovers to conduct research on the surface.

There are three rovers on the moon from the Apollo missions. Built by General Motors and Boeing, the rovers were driven on the moon's surface in 1971 and 1972.

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