The next-generation moon rover will be able to travel “significantly farther distances” vs. the 4.7-mile range of the Apollo mission’s Lunar Roving Vehicle. That will allow astronauts to explore the south pole to look for ice that could be used for water or as rocket propellant.
However, this isn’t GM’s first foray into space or moon rovers. The automaker helped build the Lunar Roving Vehicle for the Apollo 15, 16, and 17 missions. It also developed the inertial guidance and navigation systems for the entire Apollo program.
“Surface mobility is critical to enable and sustain long-term exploration of the lunar surface,” said Rick Ambrose, VP of Lockheed Martin Space, in a news release. “These next-generation 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.”
Moon Rover Adds To Lunar Push
Meanwhile, other automakers have their eyes toward the sky. Toyota (TM) is working with the Japanese government to build a hydrogen-powered moon rover. It’s called the Lunar Cruiser after its popular Land Cruiser SUV.
The Lockheed-GM moon rover would be part of a larger infrastructure to return astronauts to the moon. The Artemis program plans to land the first woman and first person of color on the moon in 2024.
Boeing (BA) is building the massive Space Launch System rocket, which will send Lockheed’s Orion capsule toward the moon.
NASA also awarded SpaceX a contract for lunar landers that will take astronauts from the Orion to the moon’s surface.
And NASA is developing the Lunar Gateway space station to support long-term moon missions and serve as a staging point for deep-space exploration.
Follow Gillian Rich on Twitter for space news and more.
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