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NASA names firms to develop rover for first crewed Moon mission since 1972 | Space News

US area company picks Intuitive Machines, Lunar Outpost and Venturi Astrolab to create designs for lunar rover.

NASA has awarded contracts to 3 corporations to develop autos for the primary crewed missions to the Moon in additional than 5 a long time.

Intuitive Machines, Lunar Outpost and Venturi Astrolab – based mostly in Texas, Colorado and California, respectively – have been chosen to create designs for the lunar rover beneath a contract price as much as $4.6bn, NASA mentioned on Wednesday.

NASA plans to choose one of many corporations to hold out a check run for his or her Lunar Terrain Car earlier than the arrival of the crew for the Artemis 5 mission scheduled for 2029.

The US area company mentioned the profitable bid will probably be “in a position to deal with the acute circumstances on the Moon’s south pole” and “function superior applied sciences for energy administration, autonomous driving, and state-of-the-art communications and navigation methods.”

“We sit up for the event of the Artemis era lunar exploration automobile to assist us advance what we study on the Moon,” Vanessa Wyche, director of NASA’s Johnson Area Heart in Houston, mentioned in a press release.

“This automobile will drastically enhance our astronauts’ potential to discover and conduct science on the lunar floor whereas additionally serving as a science platform between crewed missions.”

Jacob Bleacher, chief exploration scientist at NASA’s Exploration Techniques Growth Mission Directorate, mentioned the rover would enable astronauts to “journey to places we would not in any other case be capable to attain on foot, rising our potential to discover and make new scientific discoveries.”

“With the Artemis crewed missions, and through distant operations when there’s not a crew on the floor, we’re enabling science and discovery on the Moon yr round,” he mentioned.

The Artemis missions, named after the sister of Apollo in Greek mythology, purpose to return people to the Moon for the primary time since Apollo 17 in 1972.

Underneath the programme, NASA plans to ascertain the primary long-term presence on the Moon and lay the groundwork for future missions to Mars.

Artemis 3, the primary crewed mission, is scheduled to land in 2026.

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