After previously teasing the space community with concepts of their future lunar rover, NASA has finally revealed a prototype to the public.
What sets this rover apart from its giant robotic cousins is the fact that this rover will enable future colonists to explore the lunar surface for weeks at a time.
(New Scientist Space) The new prototype has a pressurised cab and is fitted out with leather seats and bunks. It would allow a crew of two astronauts to take extended exploration trips for up to two weeks at a time, covering distances of up to 1000 km, Craig said. [...]While it would be wise for NASA to consider taking along a few new spacesuits, these mobile rovers may become the standard for off world traveling as it would enable future settlements to send scouting parties in order to locate valuable resources.
The crew would not wear spacesuits while in the vehicle, which is fitted with large windows offering extensive views of the terrain. But to step outside, they would slip into spacesuits mounted on the outside of the vehicle through special hatches in the rover, officials said.
"You are only in a spacesuit when you need to be on the surface picking up rocks," said astronaut Mike Gernhardt, a veteran of four space shuttle missions and a pioneering spacewalk, as he took reporters for a spin in the rover.
It would also reduce the risk of astronauts inhaling moon dust, allowing them to remain in their "cozy" lunar trailer.
Even thought NASA has a long ways to go before they begin establishing the first lunar base on the Moon, its good to see the agency develop innovative ways at roaming the lunar surface (instead of repeating what they did during the glory days of Apollo).
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