GM is developing a new lunar rover that would make travel much easier on the Moon.
The new offroad and autonomous rover is being developed in collaboration between Lockheed Martin and General Motors. The collaboration between the two is focused on developing ultimate off-road, autonomous electric vehicles for Moon.
The project goal is to develop light but also rugged vehicles for paced-up ventures on the Moon, it was announced a day ago and still has to be funded by NASA.
“Mobility is really going to open up the moon for us,” said Kirk Shireman, an ex-NASA manager, now posted as Vice President at Lockheed Martin for lunar expeditions.
The new built by GM would be faster and more in capabilities than the earlier Lunar Rovers that only happened to cover a recorded distance of 7.6 kilometers from their landers. The proposal for the GM Lunar Rover came after last year’s announcement by NASA calling out for industry ideas to build a new rover for the Moon.
An official from GM said that the earlier Lunar Rover models will seat two astronauts at a time. And a video is released that shows an open rover speeding over lunar slopes, with enhanced features such as powerful headlights.
This is “just a glimpse of how we see the opportunity playing out,” said Jeff Ryder, vice president for GM Defense.
Packing the autonomous tech in the rover would enable it to venture into the shadowed craters situated at the South Pole of the moon, without putting the astronauts at risk from these dangerous spots. The frozen water that it could obtain from these dark craters could be used for drinking and growing plants.
Toyota in collaboration with the Japanese Space Agency built a pressurized electric-powered Lunar Cruiser, that would allow the astronauts to venture the moon without having to wear a spacesuit, this feature, however, is limited to that model. The Lunar Rover being developed by GM and Lockheed Martin on the other hand is unpressurized like the earlier models, and its riders would have to wear spacesuits while on the run.