The Audi lunar quattro plays a starring role in new film Alien: Covenant

Written in the stars


Audi’s lunar quattro plays a starring role in new film Alien: Covenant. But soon it will
leave Earth on a very real space adventure – a 14-day mission to the Moon

Actor Michael Fassbender, director Ridley Scott and actress Katherine Waterson (far right) at the Alien: Covenant premiere

Three... Two... One... Blast-off! Actually it’s more like glide-off as our Audi A8 eases serenely out into the congested teatime traffic. Our mission is to cross central London to Leicester Square. There we will rendezvous with not just the human talent behind new film Alien: Covenant, such as director Ridley Scott and actors Michael Fassbender, Katherine Waterston and Danny McBride, but also the movie’s automated star – the Audi lunar quattro. And hopefully there’ll be no encounters with acid-drooling xenomorphs on the way.

My fellow Audi A8 ‘crew member’ is Robert Böhme (below left), CEO and founder of PT Scientists, who with Audi’s help has developed the two lunar quattros that will carry the four-ring badge onto the surface of the Moon next year. So how has the lunar quattro, which benefits from Audi’s all-wheel-drive quattro, e-tron electric mobility and ultra-lightweight technologies, ended up in a blockbuster movie?

Robert Böhme, the founder and CEO of PT Scientists

The Audi lunar quattro

‘The people behind the film asked if they could use it,’ explains Robert. ‘I think that this is the first time that real space technology has been part of a Hollywood production.’ Robert and his team have been working on the lunar quattro for nine years now, readying it for the epic journey. ‘One of the main objectives for our mission to the Moon is to analyse the remains of the Apollo 17 Lunar Roving Vehicle. We want to find out what happened to it after it was parked on the Moon 45 years ago.’

For the two Audi lunar quattros that will make the 238,000-mile voyage to the Moon, the mission is, somewhat sadly, strictly one-way. ‘They will not come back, they will stay on the Moon and they will only be able to operate for about 11 days,’ reveals Robert. ‘But who knows, future missions may go there and visit our lunar quattros one day.’

A close up of the Audi lunar quattro

Karsten Becker, a PT Scientist

Not only will the lunar quattros feed back information on the Taurus-Littrow lunar valley (landing site of the 1972 Apollo 17 mission) and the condition of the Lunar Roving Vehicle, but they will also help pave the way for future space exploration. ‘Once we manage to go to the Moon again, and are able to use it as a stepping stone, then I believe we can go to Mars in the next ten years or so,’ explains Robert.

Our journey comes to an end as the Audi A8 pulls up at the foot of the green carpet. I take a deep breath and step out into what is to me a very alien environment. We run the gauntlet of photographers and fans, all clamouring for a glimpse of the stars. The Audi lunar quattro, complete with black tie, raises a cheer as it heads down the carpet, steered by PT Scientists’ Karsten Becker (above). It will have to contend with a much more challenging environment when it gets to the Moon, dealing with temperatures ranging from 120C to -180C. But what about Alien: Covenant? Does the lunar quattro survive its encounter with the scariest space creature ever created? Ah, now that would be telling. We’ll have no spoilers here...

 

Written by Angus Frazer; Photographs by Alexander Rhind.

 

Watch the Audi lunar quattro in action