Startup wants to sell time on remote operated lunar rovers to PC gamers starting in 2021

The company LUNATIX was created by the eight participants of SpaceTech
The SpaceTech Master Programme of the Technical University of Graz, Austria, is aimed at international, mid-career professionals seeking expertise in space systems and business engineering. There is a 36 page plan presented at SpaceTech 2016.

Lunatix wants to be the creative leader in lunar mobility and they propose two types of mobility platforms.

Above – The Lunatix nanobot. Image: Lunatix/European Space Agency

1. they are designing a series of Small Mobile Platforms (SMPs also called Nanobots), equipped with video cameras, that will be mainly dedicated to entertainment and gaming purposes for the general public. The Nanobots can be thought of as the first “inhabitants” of the Moon Village. Humans will control them and will feel through their cameras the Moon experience in near-real-time; therefore providing the first step towards human telepresence on the lunar surface.

Gamers will be able to control high-tech lunar nanobots from computers at home or work.

2. a Main Mobile Platform (MMP) will carry different payload instruments for the scientific community. The MMP will also provide services to the Nanobots, ensuring their survival in the harsh Moon environment.

The first launch of LUNATIX’s mobile platforms will be comprised of one MMP (140 kg) and five Nanobots (5 x 1.5 kg), what accounts for a total mass of 147.5 kg. The launch is targeted for 2021, taking into consideration the time needed to formally establish the company, secure the funding and complete the design, production and verification activities.

The targeted landing point on the Moon is the Marius Hill region. This area contains large lava tubes, which are of interest for the scientific community as the potential area for the Moon Village development including human settlement. The terrain is relatively smooth, which will be an advantage for the landing and, since it is located on the near side of the Moon, the direct line of sight with Earth will simplify telecommunications.

PC gaming revenues are expected to reach $29.4 billion in 2017. The Lunatix team consulted gaming companies, including Valve, the creators of Half-Life and the gaming marketplace Steam, and they were very interested in their idea.

Lunatix plans on sending five nanobots to the Moon. The first would be sold outright to the highest bidder. They estimate the starting bid at around $15 million. The buyer would have full control over the nanobot. Users would be able to buy timeslots on the next two, which would cost about $500 for 20 minutes.

The four nanobots will have 60 slots per day. There will 3360 slots for two weeks at a time before the bots have to hibernate during the cold 14-day lunar night. This would be $1.68 million every two weeks if all slots were sold.

5 thoughts on “Startup wants to sell time on remote operated lunar rovers to PC gamers starting in 2021”

  1. I’ve thought about this years ago, as one of the first real business cases for development in space. I hadn’t seen anybody talking about it though, so it’s cool to finally see real plans.

  2. Would millennials even pick up the controller if the rover doesn’t have a plasma cannon? The russian moon rover (by extension, the license built Chinese version) come standard with plasma cannons.

    • I definitely would. I imagined doing this as a kid, but for Mars, too bad about the lag though. $500 for 20 minutes seems pretty steep, but I think they will have no problem finding people willing.

      • You’d want some serious insurance though.
        If someone pays $500 for 20 minutes and manages to roll your rover, or drive it into one of these collapsed lava tube skylights… oops.

    • Scaryjello is scared by the millenials. That’s all he ever talks about, tries to put them down every time, but it’s obvious he feels threatened by the new kids in town.

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