After half a century, the U.S. will finally go back to the moon mid-decade. Leading an international effort called Project Artemis, the goal is to land on the south pole of the moon in a few years. But to do that, new moon vehicles will be needed. And as Automotive News reports, GM and Lockheed Martin will collaborate on a new lunar rover to explorer the surface.
The partnership comes as the result of NASA reaching out to the automotive industry for ideas, and not just about exploration vehicles either. The agency wants tech and lots of it. From robotic mobility systems to research instruments, NASA looked to the auto industry. General Motors stepped up.
GM and Lockheed Martin will partner on a new generation of rover vehicles utilizing new battery tech the company has developed in its recent EV push, along with an implementation of autonomous technology. The key to all of this will be maximizing electric range from the rovers. NASA needs the rovers to go further than previous missions, which went just under five miles from the landing sites. And how will autonomy fit into this? It’ll turn the rovers into workhorses. From GM:
Autonomous, self-driving systems will allow the rovers to prepare for human landings, provide commercial payload services, and enhance the range and utility of scientific payloads and experiments.
GM is no stranger to working with NASA. The company, along with Boeing, developed the original lunar rovers for Apollo missions 15 to 17 along with helping develop the guidance and navigation systems for Apollo 11. Lockheed is in the same boat. Along with developing this rover, the company is currently working on reusable vehicles that will be used in the new moon landings called Project Orion. The new moon missions are planned for 2024.