In the late 60’s NASA were hard at work developing electric minibikes to allow Apollo 15 astronauts to explore the surface of the moon, further afield from the Lunar Module.

Official American government photographs from the project confirm NASA’s plan to put motorcycles on the moon.

One of the pictures from NASA (below) shows an engineer testing (what looks like) a stock Honda CT90T on a fake lunar surface.

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NASA then went on to build its own full electric lunar minibike with a 5/8ths horsepower motor and a 30 amp-hour battery – but with no atmosphere on the moon to absorb heat from bike’s motor, NASA engineers had to add a unique (and strangely low-tech) beeswax cooling system to the bikes. The beeswax would melt and absorb heat from the motor, and once the wax got too hot, astronauts would simply stop and wait for the wax to re-harden before setting off again.

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Sadly, we do know that lunar bikes never made it to the moon. They were a backup, in case the first incarnation of the Lunar Roving Vehicle/Moon Buggy wasn’t ready in time for the mission’s launch.

Personally, we’d have much preferred seeing the little two wheelers whizzing across the Moons surface (imagine the jumping potential for starters!)…

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Ross Mowbray

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