Oh sure, we’ve made it to the moon, but we’ve only explored about 5 percent of its surface. That leaves 95 percent as an unknown. The Next Lunar Rover will be Made By General Motors That’s a lot of areas to cover if we’re really going to understand our nearest neighbor.
Lockheed Martin and GM are working together to develop a new type of lunar vehicle for NASA that will help in the upcoming Artemis missions to explore more of the moon.
“Surface mobility is critical to enable and sustain long-term exploration of the lunar surface,” says Rick Ambrose, the executive vice president for Lockheed Martin. “These next-generation rovers will dramatically extend the range of astronauts.”
Next Lunar Rover
The previous rover to drive around on the moon’s surface was only capable of achieving six miles per hour and only roamed less than five miles from the Apollo landing site. The Artemis missions plan to cover much more area, and that means the new rovers need to be able to go much farther, faster, and be able to handle rougher terrain. Lockheed Martin is designing their lunar vehicle to “Travers significantly farther distances to support the first excursions of the moon’s south pole, where it is cold and dark with more rugged terrain.
Details on the new rover are limited as the vehicle is still in the early stages of its development. Jeff Ryder, the VP of growth and strategy for GM, has shared that the vehicle will be “made of very lightweight, strong and resilient materials,” though “exactly what those are is still in formulation.” There won’t be much room for passengers either. NASA’s Human Landing System only carries two fully suited astronauts along with any cargo needed for the mission, so there may only be room for two on the rover.
“One is too few, and more than two might be too many initiatives,” says Kirk Shireman, Lockheed Martin’s lunar exploration vice president. “I look forward to having a pickup truck on the moon, where we can pile as many people in the back as we want.” Until then, the rover developed by Lockheed Martin and GM will greatly improve our understanding of the moon.