It's a bizarre notion I know, a motor manufacturer entering the 'space race' nearly 50 years after the first man walked on the moon. So here's a bit of background.
It's all part of a competition called Google Lunar XPrize, a contest in which Google is promoting us Earth-dwellers to put things back on the moon. In order to win, teams have to send a privately funded rover up into space, land it on the moon, travel 500 meters, and then transmit high definition images and video back to Earth. Oh and there's a $20million cheque waiting for the first lot to complete the task.
So, back to Audi's little buggy. Dubbed the Lunar Quattro, it's a 35kg 3D-printed moon car made of titanium and high-strength aluminium. Supposedly fitted with Audi's Quattro all-wheel-drive system, the wheels rotate 360 degrees to allow it to crab its way across the moon's undulating, rutted surface with confidence.
Powering the little rover are four wheel-mounted hub motors, fed electricity from a lithium-ion battery that's charged by a swivelling solar panel which tracks the sun. It's capable of a face-bending 3.5km/h top speed.
Two cameras in the head of the rover gather 3D images of the vehicle's surroundings, while a third is used to study materials and produce high-resolution panoramic images that can be beamed down from space to satisfy the lot at Google.
The real geeks behind the project have dubbed themselves the 'Part-Time Scientists' - Audi are the team's financial backers and of course are supplying the much needed wheels. All this excitement has no doubt greatly improved morale at Audi's HQ in Ingolstadt - in fact you can just picture all those thick-rimmed spectacles burning the midnight (and weekend) oil on this extramural activity.
Lunar Quattro was let loose at the Detroit Motor Show to scamper about the place like a lost puppy in an attempt to stir up some publicity. I'm sure the next time we'll see it will be on the Moon - soon too as verified launch contracts have to be completed by the end of the year, while all missions must be completed by the end of 2017.