There are new space rovers destined for the moon in development, and GM is going to have a big hand in the process. Just today, GM announced that it’s teaming with the global security and aerospace company Lockheed Martin to develop the next generation lunar vehicles to be used in Project Artemis, NASA’s grand return to moon exploration.
These rovers won’t go to the moon alone either. The vehicles GM ends up producing are going to be designed to transport astronauts on the surface of the moon. Just as the teaser image and video previews, these vehicles won’t be small.
GM’s decision to hop into this field stems from NASA’s 2020 challenge to the industry to make a better and more capable Lunar Terrain Vehicle (LTV). The goal will be to explore more of the moon than we’ve been able to previously, including the first excursions to the moon’s south pole where it’s dark, cold and rough going. GM doesn’t say how much further the new rovers will go, but makes clear that they’ll travel much further than the original Apollo rovers that managed to get 4.7 miles from the landing site.
Lockheed Martin is said to be the leader of the project, but GM will help by leveraging all it has learned in the battery-electric vehicle space to design the rover’s propulsion system. Plus, the rover will benefit from GM’s autonomous and sensing technologies to help it navigate the moon in a safer and more efficient fashion. GM says its “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 has a long history of helping NASA out with space exploration projects, aiding in a number of ways throughout the whole Apollo Moon program, including helping develop the original lunar rover. Lockheed Martin is hugely responsible for building a number of spacecraft systems we’ve used in the more recent past — including in missions to Mars — so the two working together looks like a recipe for intrigue.
We’re not sure when GM will show us the new rovers, but we sure are excited to see what this partnership returns.