Ontario Drive and Gear, the local company working on a lunar rover, is celebrating a 50-year milestone.

A working prototype of the vehicle was on scene as the company’s celebrations kicked off on Thursday.

CEO Michael Eckardt says “It’s a great technology. It’s based on innovation, it allows us to leverage our development on the Argo that we’ve done for 45 years and put it into that rover which you’ll hopefully see on the moon in five years time.”

Expected to be moon ready by 2017, all the technology is built by Ontario Drive and Gear (ODG) in New Hamburg, but Eckardt says there’s still work to be done.

“Over the next five years we’ll be making it lighter, refining the technologies and working with our partners to make it all remote controlled and self controlled, autonomous.”

The company secured a contract from the Canada Space Agency to build the rover two years ago, and there is interest from NASA.

Eckardt has been with the company for 22 years and is emotional about the company’s successes.

“We’ve survived the recessions, we’ve survived the low Canadian dollar and we’re still here and we hope to be here for another 50 years.”

ODG is most well-known for building Argos, all-terrain vehicles that can travel on both land and water, used mostly for hunting, fishing and exploring.