NASA to Trade: Ship Concepts for Lunar Rovers



Feb. 6, 2020

Concept image showing the backseat view in a Lunar Terrain Vehicle. Concept image showing the backseat view in a Lunar Terrain Vehicle.

Idea picture displaying the backseat view in a Lunar Terrain Automobile. Credit: NASA

As NASA’s Artemis lunar exploration program mounts towards a sturdy decade of recent science, analysis, and human exploration on the Moon, the company is asking American corporations to consider tips on how to get round on the lunar floor.

NASA issued two separate Requests for Data (RFI) in search of trade approaches for improvement of robotic mobility programs and human-class lunar rovers. With these RFIs, NASA seeks to foster an rising American market of lunar transportation functionality by participating the terrestrial automobile and robotic communities.

First, the area company is asking for ideas on robotic mobility programs to move devices throughout the lunar floor, conducting crucial scientific analysis throughout huge areas of terrain, together with areas the place people might not discover.

“As we return to the Moon with Artemis, we’re in search of new and progressive approaches that enable us to function robotically wherever on the lunar floor and discover extra of our nearest neighbor than ever earlier than,” mentioned Steve Clarke, deputy affiliate administrator for exploration, Science Mission Directorate at NASA Headquarters in Washington. “We’re turning to trade to supply us thrilling approaches to leverage present programs right here on Earth—together with legislation enforcement, army, or leisure automobiles—that might be modified to be used in area to boost our mobility structure.”

To increase the exploration footprints of the primary lady and subsequent man on the Moon, NASA is also in search of trade suggestions on related state-of-the-art industrial applied sciences and acquisition methods for a brand new lunar terrain automobile or LTV. The LTV might be a human-rated, unpressurized (unenclosed) rover that might be used to assist astronauts discover and conduct experiments someplace people have by no means been earlier than: the lunar South Pole.

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“Essentially the most we are able to count on crew to stroll whereas sporting their spacesuits is a couple of half-mile,” mentioned Marshall Smith, director of human lunar exploration applications within the Human Exploration and Operations Mission Directorate at NASA Headquarters. “If we are able to place a rover close to a touchdown web site earlier than crew arrive, the potential for scientific return on these first missions will develop exponentially.”

The proof is up to now. The full areas explored for Apollo astronauts grew from a bit over half a mile throughout Apollo 11, to 15 miles throughout Apollos 15-17. With the Lunar Roving Automobile, astronauts have been capable of discover way more various geological options to maximise the science return of these missions.

“We additionally need to hear from trade leaders in all-terrain automobiles, electrical automobiles, and extra—this isn’t unique to the area trade,” notes Smith. “We wish our rovers on the Moon to attract on, and spur, improvements in electrical automobile vitality storage and administration, autonomous driving, and excessive surroundings resistance.”

Clarke added, “Firms of all sizes are already partnering with us to ship payloads to the lunar floor by means of our Industrial Lunar Payload Providers (CLPS) initiative. We look ahead to what trade shares with us as we think about early concepts on how humanity will discover the Moon robotically and with crew within the coming years.”

Rising mobility on the Moon is the newest step to strengthen NASA’s Artemis program, the place the company will use the Moon to check new programs and applied sciences earlier than sending crew to Mars within the 2030s. The company will quickly choose new suppliers to design and develop a Human Touchdown System in addition to new logistics suppliers for the Gateway in lunar orbit. And, as Clarke talked about, NASA is continuous to speed up its scientific work forward of a human return, working with a pool of 14 corporations on contract to bid on industrial Moon deliveries. Two of these suppliers, Astrobotic and Intuitive Machines, will ship the primary units of science devices and expertise improvement payloads to the lunar floor subsequent 12 months.

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The RFIs are to tell strategic planning, inviting trade to offer info to assist form the evolution of the Artemis mobility structure to realize the best scientific and exploration worth.

Responses to the SMD RFI are due March 6, and responses to the HEOMD RFI are due Feb. 26. NASA will host a digital trade discussion board Feb. 12, to clarify the technique and reply questions from potential responders. Connection particulars for the digital trade discussion board might be discovered within the RFIs.

The LTV RFI is on the market right here:

The robotic mobility programs RFI is on the market right here: phrases=NASA&kind=-modifiedDate&index=&is_active=true&web page=1

For extra details about NASA’s Artemis lunar exploration program, go to:

Final Up to date: Feb. 6, 2020

Editor: Erin Mahoney

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