A new lunar rover is being developed by Lockheed Martin and Goodyear as NASA prepares to return to the moon. Unlike the rover first used during the Apollo 15 mission in 1971, which was designed to last only a few days and for short trips, the new lunar vehicle is being built for extended use. And this time it’s not just for NASA. “We are developing this next generation lunar mobility vehicle to be available to NASA and to commercial companies and even other space agencies to support science and human exploration,” said Kirk Shireman, vice president of Lunar Exploration at Lockheed Martin.
“This approach exemplifies NASA’s willingness for industry to take the lead with commercial efforts that allow the agency to be one of many customers.” Neil Armstrong became the first person to set foot on the surface of the Moon on this day in 1969 as part of the Apollo 11 mission. Goodyear, which also participated in NASA’s Apollo missions, will use the airless tire technology it uses here for autonomous shuttles and other passenger vehicles.
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Lockheed Martin, based in Fort Worth, Texas, has worked with NASA for more than 50 years, including NASA’s Orion research-class spacecraft for Artemis and numerous planetary spacecraft to Mars. Lunar vehicles will have to withstand extreme conditions on the surface of the Moon, where temperatures drop to -250 degrees Fahrenheit (-156.67 degrees Celsius) at night and rise to over 250 degrees Fahrenheit (121.11 degrees Celsius Celsius) during the day.
In addition to Akron, Ohio-based Goodyear and Lockheed Martin, Canada’s MDA will provide its commercial robotic arm technology for the vehicles. The companies expect to have their first vehicle on the surface of the moon at the same time as NASA’s planned 2025 mission.
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