Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

Carnegie Mellon University is sending a student-developed rover to the moon in May

A group of Carnegie Mellon University undergraduate and graduate students have recently unveiled the completion of their project, the Iris rover. Iris is a lunar rover built over more than three years, and by more than 300 students, as the first university-developed rover.

Iris program manager Raewyn Duvall said the rover will work to provide valuable information for future projects.

“There's a lot of lunar surface data that we’ll be getting, as well as showing that rovers of this size can survive. That's always been a big question with the space community — if something this size really can survive, [and] is useful for being able to send up multitudes of these for the same cost as one large rover.”

The Iris rover is first of its kind in terms of size, weight and origin. Iris weighs in at only 2 kilograms, and is approximately as large as a shoebox. It is also the first American robotic lunar rover. Iris will mark many firsts for not only CMU’s aerospace department, but aerospace development nationally.

WESA Inbox Edition Newsletter

Start your morning with today's news on Pittsburgh and Pennsylvania.

CMU will continue its work in aerospace engineering with its next rover, MoonRanger. Whereas Iris will land near the moon’s equator, MoonRanger is headed to the South Pole to study ice formation.

The Iris project will also be commemorated in an upcoming exhibit at the Smithsonian. A miniature replica of Iris was created by the CMU student team, and will be showcased alongside the projects Astrobotic’s Peregrine Lander.

Iris will be launched on May 4th.