NASA has released two requests for a lunar probe concept from a U.S. company. NASA hopes to acquire the concept of a lunar rover that can transport instruments on the moon’s surface and study where humans are unlikely to go. These concepts will be accepted under the Artemis Exploration Program, which aims to return humans to the moon and begin a series of new lunar exploration missions.
NASA also said it hopes “the Lunar Terrain Vehicle (LTV) will be able to feed back the latest technology and commercial strategies of the people involved, which will transport humans to the moon’s south pole.” The space agency explained that the lander would require a closed, pressure-free design. A man in a spacesuit can only walk about half a mile on the moon.
LTV’s request is not limited to space companies. NASA says “industry leaders” in similar areas, such as electric vehicles and all-terrain vehicles, can also submit their concepts and feedback. “We want our lunar rover to learn from the energy storage and management of electric vehicles, autonomous driving, and resistance innovations in extreme environments,” said Marshall Smith, director of NASA’s Human Lunar Exploration Program. “
NASA’s Artemis program focuses not only on the moon. NASA plans to use the moon as a testing ground for technologies and systems that could be used as part of future manned missions to Mars. Assuming everything goes according to plan, the space agency expects a manned mission to Mars around 2030.
Soon, NASA will select companies that will design and develop a “human landing system.” Similarly, NASA still needs to select a logistics provider for the planned Gateway, which will remain in lunar orbit. The space agency has contracted with 14 companies that are likely to develop technology for the agency’s lunar mission as part of the Artemis program.