Aerospace Company Lockheed Martin has partnered with vehicle manufacturing giant, General Motors (GM) to develop a new Lunar Rover for NASA’s upcoming Artemis Moon missions.
The Artemis Program aims to land Humans on the Moon in 2024. With the last moon landing mission completed in 1972, humans have not been to the Moon in almost half a century.
Lockheed Martin Executive Vice President, Rick Ambrose said in a statement, “Surface mobility is critical to enable long-term exploration of the Lunar surface. These next generation rovers will dramatically extend the range of astronauts.” The Rovers that were used during the Apollo missions were capable of driving at a speed of 9.6 kilometres an hour.
Off-roading on the Moon
Making a car for the Moon is not a simple job. The days and night on the Moon are 14 days long. The Rover must be able to operate in night temperatures as low as 280 degrees Fahrenheit (-173 degrees Celsius) and temperatures as high as 260 degrees Fahrenheit (126 degrees Celsius).
NASA’s next generation rover will utilise cutting-edge technologies such as electric vehicle systems, autonomous driving, and hazardous terrain capabilities.
GM is quite experienced in building these rovers as it used to be a major subcontractor that helped Boeing create the Lunar rover that was utilised during 3 Apollo Moon missions. This makes them a good choice for the project.
Lockheed Martin has a rich history of working together with NASA and it looks forward to further leveraging that with the new rover.