On May 26th, General Motors and Lockheed Martin announced their plan to make a Moon Buggy that is fully electric, autonomous, and rugged. As per NASA requirements, the vehicle needs the extra mile for the vehicles. To be precise, they asked for two vehicles, one is the Lunar Terrain Vehicle (LTV). And the other, a bigger Lunar Surface Space Mobility.
NASA has created competition among companies on creating rockets suitable for their launches. Where SpaceX won the lunar lander contract, after competing with Blue Origin and Dynetics. Now, it is not known if other automakers are into making range rover, but GM and Lockheed are preparing to submit their proposals by the year-end.
We're ready when you are!
— Lockheed Martin (@LockheedMartin) May 26, 2021
Though the NASA specifications weren’t more, they wanted autonomous vehicles which can handle crater-laden terrain. Which is considered challenging when compared to the autonomous vehicles being made for on-earth travels.
The big plans
GM already invested in its electric vehicle line. They plan to make use of this technology in making the moon buggy. As said by GM’s supply chain provider, Ryder, “At this point, what we have is a tremendous toolkit, a commercial autonomy baseline that we can work from. We’re heads-down right now investigating how we would take those capabilities and apply them to these specific missions and operations associated with the Artemis program.”
Furthermore, the executive vice president of Lockheed Martin, Rick Ambrose said, “The rovers will dramatically extend the range of astronauts as they perform high-priority science investigation on the Moon. That will ultimately impact humanity’s understanding of our place in the solar system.”
Alongside NASA is making plans to have their moon launches by 2024, to prove and test some technologies on the moon. These experiments are to benefit for future purposes when more humans visit the moon again and again.
Building the rover
The Moon Buggy isn’t just any rover, it has solar rays falling all over it. So the rover should also be able to charge by itself as it is at work. Also, it is to be like an electric pickup on the moon, being able to carry as many people as it wants.
As needed, the Moon Buggy should be able to carry at least 2 suited astronauts and a cargo load of 1,102 pounds. Also should be able to travel at least 1.2 miles with one full charge.
Speaking on how many astronauts on one Moon Buggy would be convenient, the ISS Program manager, Kirk Shireman said,
“We think, initially, two astronauts. One is too few, and more than two might be too many, initially”. Further added, “I look forward to having a pickup truck on the Moon, where we can pile as many people in the back as we want.”
Finally, it is said that the better the Moon Buggy is, the better for astronauts.