Design

NASA Is Looking To the Auto Industry to Help Design the Next Moon Rover

Marc Gordon
Mar 11, 2020

NASA needs help building the next lunar rover. And they’re looping in the auto industry for some assistance. As part of the Artemis Program, which aims to return humans to the Moon by 2024, NASA has put out a call for ideas for the next lunar rover. The agency expressed that it wants to hear from vehicle makers and other technology companies that haven’t worked on space-related projects before, in order to discover new and innovative approaches.

“We are turning to industry to offer us exciting approaches to leverage existing systems here on Earth—including law enforcement, military, or recreational vehicles—that could be modified for use in space to enhance our mobility architecture,” Steve Clarke, NASA’s deputy associate administrator for exploration, Science Mission Directorate, said in a press release. NASA said that it is specifically searching for “new and innovative” approaches to aid in the design of human-class lunar rovers. According to the agency, astronauts can only walk up to a half-mile in their suits, so the vehicle is required for any tasks that would take them out of that range.

NASA working on space rover

Getty Images/Robyn Beck/AFP

In addition to being able to carry humans, the next-generation Moon rover must also be unpressurized, unenclosed, and completely electric-powered due to the lack of oxygen on the moon. The auto industry is also very involved in the electrification revolution so there should be more than enough companies with ideas for NASA. Of course, it will be quite a change for all those automobile engineers to turn their attention from cars to outer space vehicles, but we’re certain they’re more than up to the challenge. It’s always important to have new minds and opinions when you’re working on building something new. Between NASA and the various industries that join in on this ambitious effort, great things will undoubtedly be achieved for mankind.