A new land rover launched into orbit around the Moon is set to be launched into space in 2019, and it has been named after a famous explorer who never got to visit the planet himself.
The $1 billion (1.1 billion euro) Land Rover Discovery launched on April 6 and was carrying five instruments on board, including a radar, laser and solar array.
It will orbit the Moon from 2019 to 2021 and then return to Earth for a “landing” in 2021.
The mission is part of the NASA-funded Global Land Reconnaissance Orbiter mission to gather data from the Moon and other celestial bodies.
It aims to be the first lander to make observations on other celestial objects, such as asteroids and comets, to determine their composition, size and distance.
Its first phase is planned to launch in 2019 and orbit the moon in 2021, according to a NASA statement.
The lander will use a solar array to survey lunar terrain for traces of ancient water, and a radar to locate objects like boulders or ice boulders.
The spacecraft is expected to make “a detailed study of the Earth’s crust,” NASA said.NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California, is handling the mission for NASA.