As far as prospective lunar rovers appearances are concerned, NASA is seeking insights from industry, including vehicle manufacturers and technology firms, not necessarily already within the space sector. These insights will be part of its Artemis new program, which aims at returning human beings, involving the first female and the next American man, to the surface of the Moon.
The submission involves two formal Requests for Information(RFI): One looking for insights on robotic rovers intended for automated research. The other is seeking ideas and concepts that may lead to the creation of a human-rated Lunar Terrain Vehicle (LTV). The created technology render astronauts capable of driving them through the Moon and around it while putting on protective pressurized clothes ( this means that they are particularly seeking open-top models).
NASA’s aim with these automobiles is to aid astronauts to explore over and above their long term landing spot, which is supposed to be somewhere on the lunar South Pole and to be able to broaden their scope of terrain to conduct experiments and collect information. The robot automobiles will help similarly, but also ideally is in a position to reach where human beings can’t reach.
In its RFI report, NASA states that it is searching for expertise on all forms of vehicle production, including all-terrain, electric and other types of ground vehicles, from industry players. The players may include, for instance, autonomous car manufacturers and innovative mobile technology startups.
NASA’s goal with such vehicles is to assist astronauts in exploring outside their future landing site somewhere on the Lunar South Pole and expand their field of experimentation and data collection. The robot vehicles support in the same way but ideally can reach where people are not necessarily able to achieve.
In case anybody is searching for more information, NASA intends to address questions at a virtual industry platform, and submissions for the LTV rover RFI are needed by February 26th, while the contribution to the RFI robotic rover closing on March 6th should take much longer.
A similar RFI was issued by the Agency for commercial lunar landers in 2018 before the announcement of its contract program in February 2019 for Commercial Lunar Payload Services. That approach may indeed contribute to some commercial partner program for rovers which can potentially be handy on future NASA Moon missions. Because of that concept, it may be the case.