The rover and vehicles that NASA wants to include in this mission making plans, they also have a pressurized ‘Habitable Mobility Platform’, which can transport the crew involved in the mission for up to 45 days. According to NASA’s requirements, the crew vehicle must be designed to last at least a decade. The vehicle’s design will also serve as a benchmark for future Mars-ready missions.
Given these challenges, space agencies are attracting auto manufacturers to design durable rovers. Currently, two partnerships have progressed for NASA’s vehicle on the Moon. The first partnership is between General Motors and Lockheed Martin, announced in May last year. The second partnership was announced last November between Northrop Grumman, AVL, Intuitive Machines, Lunar Outpost and Michelin.
Something similar is happening in Japan as well. The Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) has partnered with Nissan and Toyota for two separate lunar driving projects. In December, Nissan unveiled an unmanned lunar rover prototype. At the same time, Toyota is designing a lunar cruiser. Toyota executives announced in January that after deploying the cruiser on the Moon, the company would adapt it for use on Mars.
Takao Sato, head of Toyota Motor’s Lunar Cruiser project, said the idea behind this vehicle is that people eat, work, sleep and communicate safely in cars. The same is done outside of space. That is, the vehicle is being prepared on the same lines.
Paul Niles, a scientist at NASA’s Johnson Space Center, says that it will certainly help in automation and such partnerships will support the mission.