NASA has selected three lunar vehicle concepts: one bound for future space exploration

NASA has selected three lunar vehicle concepts: one bound for future space exploration

NASA has recently made a significant stride towards lunar exploration by selecting three cutting-edge concepts for lunar vehicles, one of which is set to traverse the lunar terrain autonomously, without a driver at the helm. Here are all the details.

NASA has chosen three lunar car concepts, and one of them will go into space soon. This milestone decision marks the beginning of a new era in space exploration, as NASA moves forward with its ambitious Artemis program to return humans to the Moon. The selected lunar car concepts are pivotal for facilitating astronaut mobility, cargo transportation, and scientific endeavors on the lunar surface.

Three companies, Intuitive Machines, Lunar Outpost, and Venturi Astrolab, have been tasked with crafting these lunar vehicles. Their designs will undergo rigorous feasibility studies to assess their viability for integration into NASA's lunar exploration endeavors.

The ultimate goal is to deploy these innovative vehicles by the Artemis V mission around 2030, enabling astronauts to navigate the lunar landscape near the South Pole. This critical phase follows NASA's open call, wherein companies were required to present concepts aligning with the agency's stringent criteria.

"We look forward to the development of the Artemis generation lunar exploration vehicle to help us advance what we learn at the Moon," said Vanessa Wyche, director of NASA's Johnson Space Center in Houston. "This vehicle will greatly increase our astronauts' ability to explore and conduct science on the lunar surface while also serving as a science platform between crewed missions."

Each selected concept is expected to undergo comprehensive evaluation to ensure its safety, functionality, and adherence to NASA's mission objectives. A demonstration mission will be orchestrated to showcase the vehicle's capabilities, particularly its autonomous navigation prowess, on the lunar surface.

With an allocated budget of approximately $4.6 billion, encompassing development and operational costs, NASA aims to streamline the production process and select a sole manufacturer for the lunar terrain vehicles. These vehicles will boast state-of-the-art power, communication, and navigation systems, ensuring their efficacy in the challenging lunar environment.

Of notable significance is the vehicle's ability to operate autonomously, enabling unmanned research missions during periods when astronauts are not present on the lunar base. This feature underscores NASA's commitment to advancing lunar exploration through cutting-edge technology and innovation, honoring a new chapter in humanity's quest to unravel the mysteries of the cosmos.