As there are plans to get back to the moon by 2025, Dresden-based Hookie, along with partners that include Cake, DuPont and others have developed this electric motorcycle to allow astronauts to move around the lunar surface more easily. Inspired by future and past adventures to orbit, Andrey Fabishevsky visualized a lunar concept motorcycle back in 2020. He partnered with Nico Mueller (CEO, Hookie Co.) to make this reality. Cake was tapped to provide the electric drivetrain, and the bike was named Tardigrade, after an Earth-bound microscopic creature that exists everywhere on the planet, and has been shown to be able to survive the extremes of space.
The bike has a top speed of around 9 miles an hour, and a range of 60 miles. The vehicle will be significantly lighter than a buggy like the type used in the 1960s and 1970s, weighing in at 308 lbs vs 463 lbs. This is a significant difference, as it costs about $1,240 to lift each pound of weight into space. Lightweight materials were used, including the 3D-printed wheels, the laser-cut aluminum frame, and Dupont Kevlar to shield the bike’s drivetrain from intense solar radiation.
One of their biggest challenges, according to a Hookie press statement, was the construction of the Tardigrade’s two balloon wheels. The ultra-light, 24 x 7-inch alloy wheels were constructed out of several smaller parts. Hookie developed the air-less tires by 3D printing 12 polyurethane tread modules for each wheel, before securing them onto the motorcycle’s rims.
The bike will start being displayed at the Petersen Automotive Museum in Los Angeles, California, starting in October 2021.