Spacebit, the UK-based robotic rover start-up, has booked a second payload quota for the moon, using the Nova-C lander it plans to send in 2021 as part of NASA’s Commercial Lunar Payload Service (CLPS) program. Spacebit already has a berth on the Astrobotic Peregrine lander, which will fly to the moon on a Vulcan Centaur rocket in July 2021.
Spacebit’s Asagumo four-footed walker will fly on the first CLPS mission, which NASA created to find commercial partners ahead of its Artemis manned lunar mission to transport experiments and payloads to the moon with private cargo. For the second launch of the Nova-C lander, Spacebit is preparing a wheeled rover that will carry a small NASA science module. Wheeled rovers and walking rovers are designed to help assess what resources are available on the lunar surface to support the Artemis program.
This will provide Spacebit with a variety of opportunities to assess the geological composition of the moon, which is its primary objective in carrying out these missions. The different rover designs will also mean that it can better assess which rover is better suited for this task. The four-legged design is designed to allow the rover to better handle uneven surfaces, making it possible to even explore lava flow tubes and other cave-like areas that may be suitable for construction as natural shelters and future lunar habitats.