As NASA’s Artemis lunar exploration program mounts toward a robust decade of modern science, research, and human exploration at the Moon, the agency is asking American companies to think about how to get around on the lunar surface.
NASA is asking potential industry partners, including electric car companies, to submit ideas for a lunar terrain vehicle (LTV) that could one day transport astronauts across the lunar surface.
“As we return to the Moon with Artemis, we're seeking new and innovative approaches that allow us to operate robotically anywhere on the lunar surface and explore more of our nearest neighbor than ever before,” said Steve Clarke, deputy associate administrator for exploration , Science Mission Directorate at NASA Headquarters in Washington. “We are turning to industry to offer us exciting approaches to leverage existing systems here on Earth — including law enforcement, military, or recreational vehicles — that could be modified for use in space to enhance our mobility architecture.”
Increasing mobility on the Moon is the last step to strengthen NASA's Artemis program, where the agency will use the Moon to test new systems and technologies before sending the crew to Mars in the 2030s.
The space agency is looking for a passenger vehicle that is not under pressure, which means that astronauts will still have to wear their spacesuits.
“The most we can expect crew to walk while wearing their spacesuits is about a half-mile,” Smith said. “If we can place a rover near a landing site before crew arrive, the potential for scientific return on those first missions will grow exponentially.”
“We also want to hear from industry leaders in all-terrain vehicles, electric vehicles, and more — this is not exclusive to the space industry,” notes Marshall Smith. “We want our rovers on the Moon to draw on, and spur, innovations in electric vehicle energy storage and management, autonomous driving, and extreme environment resistance.”
Today, NASA shows a deep interest in areas that Tesla CEO Elon Musk has mastered perfectly. He has solid and exclusive experience in the construction and launch of rockets into space, the production of smart electric cars, the creation, development and implementation of autonomous driving and the creation of energy storage systems.
That is why it is Tesla and Mr. Mask that will be best able to understand, create and implement the idea of a lunar rover that will meet NASA requirements.
Featured image: Eashan Misra