US firms General Motors and Lockheed Martin have announced a new partnership to develop a highly autonomous, two-seat electric rover for future human exploration of the Moon.
This new generation of lunar vehicle is designed to transport astronauts around the surface of the Moon within the framework of the Artemis program. Artemis is an ambitious space program launched by the American space agency NASA, whose objective is to bring a crew to the lunar surface by 2024 before establishing a permanent base that will serve as a learning lab for a future trip to Mars.
This all-electric vehicle is set to be among the various rovers making the trip, and its innovative self-driving systems should allow for longer and farther exploration of the surface of the Moon. Named Lunar Terrain Vehicle (LTV), it will combine the expert technologies of both companies. While Lockheed Martin will work on the architecture of the vehicle, General Motors will bring long-lasting batteries and various technologies to the project to make the vehicle autonomous in certain situations.
General Motors already has a long history of working with NASA, having collaborated with the space agency during the first trips to the Moon. While the rovers of that time barely covered more than 7 km, this time the projections are much greater, even if no precise figures have yet been revealed. As for Lockheed Martin, the company has already played a very important role in the US Space Shuttle program as well as in the construction of the International Space Station.
Check out a video of the project: youtu.be/5869l2cKLZw