General Motors is courting NASA with a new lunar rover

Michigan

This illustration provided by General Motors and Lockheed Martin in May 2021 depicts astronauts and concepts of lunar rovers on the surface of the moon. On Wednesday, May 26, 2021, Lockheed and GM announced that they would combine their technological and manufacturing expertise to build the electric vehicles for NASA’s Artemis program, named after the twin sister of Apollo in Greek mythology. (Lockheed Martin, GM via AP)

DETROIT, Mich. (WLNS) – General Motors and Lockheed Martin have teamed up to design a new lunar rover that they hope will be included in NASA’s next manned mission to the moon.

The project was announced on Wednesday, complete with a promotional video showing off the out-of-this-world vehicle. It is designed to be light but rugged, allowing astronauts to travel farther and faster across the lunar surface.

GM helped design the rovers for the Apollo 15, 16, and 17 missions in the 1970’s. NASA put out the call for auto industry ideas for new rovers last year as part of the planned return to the moon by 2024.

The new rovers would be self-driving, which could have several uses on the lunar surface. The vehicle could follow astronauts as they explore and collect samples on foot, or venture out into potentially dangerous areas.

GM’s rover is open, so the astronauts would need space suits as they travel. Toyota is working with the Japanese Space Agency to build a “lunar cruiser” that would be enclosed and pressurized. Kirk Shireman, a former NASA manager who now works for Lockheed Martin, says there is room for both designs in the upcoming mission.

Click here to see the promotional video for the new GM lunar rover.

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