It seems Toyota's not the only automaker that wants to go to the Moon. General Motor announced they are teaming up with aerospace company Lockheed Martin to develop the next-generation lunar vehicles for NASA's Artemis Program.
For those unfamiliar, Lockheed Martin is responsible for building some of the most popular fighter jets today, including the F-22 Raptor and the F-35 Lightning. They also have a more than 50-year-history of working with NASA on deep-space human and robotic spacecraft, such as NASA's Orion-class spaceship for Artemis and numerous Mars and planetary spacecraft.
Called the Lunar Terrain Vehicle (LTV), its are currently under development by the two companies. The LTV will bring future astronauts around the Moon's surface, allowing them to explore and investigate new places on the Moon.
The rover is still in the early stage of development, so specific details such as size, weight, and range are still scarce. For reference, Toyota's Lunar Cruiser had a face similar to the FJ Cruiser. With that, we're wondering if GM's would look like the new Hummer EV. It's possible, but only time will tell. GM did say that the LTV will be fully electric to meet NASA requirements. The automaker will equip the rover with autonomous technology to “facilitate safer and more efficient operations” on the Moon.
Compared to Toyota's upcoming rover, this won't be General Motor's first time working on Moon-bound vehicles and NASA. GM manufactured, tested, and integrated the inertial guidance and navigation systems for the entire Apollo Moon program, including Apollo 11 and the first human landing in 1969. The company also helped develop the electric Apollo Lunar Roving Vehicle (LRV), including the chassis and wheels for the LRV that was used on Apollo’s 15-17 missions.
Unlike the Apollo rovers that could only travel 7.6 kilometers, GM's upcoming rovers will have significantly more range. The automaker says it will even be capable of traveling to the Moon's south pole, where it is cold and features some of the most rugged terrains.
NASA's Artemis program hopes to bring astronauts back to the Moon by 2024. With that, GM and Lockheed Martin still have a few years to work on the project before it lands on the lunar surface.