Lockheed Martin and General Motors are working together to develop lunar rovers to allow Artemis astronauts to explore the 95% of the Moon’s surface that has as of yet been unseen.
The rovers will be driver-optional with an autonomous feature available allowing the vehicle to assess a potential landing site before the astronauts arrive, saving time and opening options for discovering information that might not otherwise be available.
The lunar environment requires the rover to be able to withstand temperatures as low as -280 degrees Fahrenheit during the 2-week long nights on the Moon and daytime high temperatures of up to 260 degrees Fahrenheit in the 2-week long days. Lockheed Martin brings extensive experience in designing deep space robotic spacecraft using advanced materials and composites to protect the crafts from these extreme environmental conditions. GM’s experience in designing vehicles for extreme off-road environments while focusing on the best in driver and passenger safety complements Lockheed Martin’s spacecraft experience for this project.
“These next-generation rover concepts will dramatically extend the exploration 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,” said Rick Ambrose, executive vice president, Lockheed Martin Space.
Kirk Shireman, vice president, Lunar Exploration Campaigns at Lockheed Martin, noted, “GM is a world leader in automobile manufacturing and technology, and Lockheed Martin is a world leader in spacecraft. The two companies joining forces to build a mobility system on the Moon just makes perfect sense.”
“I’ve worked on many space programs in the past, but this isn’t just another space mission,” said Jeff Ryder, vice president, growth & strategy at GM Defense, “It’s the return to, and permanent habitation of the Moon. It’s not just cool or interesting –it’s historical. It’s a major milestone in human activity in space.”