NASA is set to send the first woman and next many to the moon in 2024 and has revealed what the crew will call home – an RV rover.
The American space agency is ditching concepts of inflatable tents and underground bases, and is now looking at an pressurized surface vehicle.
The space group recently joined efforts with Japan’s Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA), which has been designing a six-wheeled, self-driving Toyota rover – providing Japan with a key role in the Artemis program.
The RV-like rover will hold two people up to 14 days, allowing them to live and work inside while traveling across the moon.
NASA jrecedntly oined efforts with Japan’s Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA), which has been designing a six-wheeled, self-driving lunar rover with Toyota for two years- providing Japan with a key role in the Artemis program
Mark Kirasich, the acting director of NASA’s Advanced Exploration Systems, said in a video interview: ‘The pressurized rover is really an incredible element, human element,’
‘I have been in a lot of spacecraft on the ground, I have been in the International Space Station on the ground, this thing is the coolest element I’ve ever seen for people because they can live and work inside.’
‘It’s like a space station-esque, kind of a habitat for up to 14 days for two people, but it’s on wheels and you can go places.’
‘It’s like an RV for the moon, very cool.’
Last year, JAXA showed off renders for its moon rover designed with car company Toyota that runs on solar power and fuel cell technology – and now NASA has joined up with the team.
NASA is set to send the first woman and next many to the moon in 2024 and it has revealed what the crew will call home – an RV rover. The American space agency is ditching concepts of inflatable tents and underground bases, and is now looking at an pressurized surface vehicle
Although NASA is working with Japan, it will continue to design its own unpressurized rover due to the fact JAXA’s will not be ready until the end of the decade
The American spaced agency signed an agreement with the Japanese government this month, called a Joint Exploration Declaration of Intent that helps Japan increase its role in the Artemis program, Space News reports.
The agreement allows JAXA to take the lead in designing what could be the first permanent habitat for the Artemis crew – a date has not been released for when the rover will launch to the moon.
NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine said in a brief statement about the agreement earlier this month: ‘Today’s signing of this declaration of intent builds on the long history of successful cooperation between the U.S. and Japan in space.’
‘We appreciate Japan’s strong support for Artemis and look forward to extending the robust partnership that we have enjoyed on the International Space Station to cislunar space, the lunar surface, and beyond.’
Bridenstein noted that NASA considered it important to involve JAXA in a ‘major surface element’ like a pressurized rover, even though the American space agency has conducted previous studies of pressurized lunar rover.
‘There was the idea that, even though we have done a lot of work, let the Japanese lead development of a pressurized rover,’ he said.
NASA is still working on its own unpressurized rover that will be similar to what was used in the last three Apollo missions for when Artemis first lands on the moon.
This is because Japan’s pressurized vehicle will not be read until the end of the decade.
JAXA’s vehicle may travel along with its own astronauts to the moon in the 2030s.
JAXA Vice President Koichi Wakata said: ‘Lunar gravity is one-sixth of that on Earth.’
‘Meanwhile, the moon has a complex terrain with craters, cliffs, and hills. Moreover, it is exposed to radiation and temperature conditions that are much harsher than those on Earth, as well as an ultra-high vacuum environment.
A pressurized cabin will allow the rover to transport astronauts across greater distances on the surface of the moon. Toyota’s concept vehicle, revealed in a new video and series of images today, will be designed to hold two astronauts and runs on fuel cell technology
‘For wide ranging human exploration of the moon, a pressurized rover that can travel more than 10,000 km in such environments is necessary.’
The pressurized vehicle proposed this week by Toyota is six meters long and 3.8 meters high – or, about the size of two microbuses, the car company says.
Though it’s intended to carry two people, Toyota says it can fit four in an emergency situation.
Astronauts would be able to ride in the vehicle without their space suits on, while still having enough room for them to get in and out while wearing the bulky outfits.
Running on a fuel cell, the lunar vehicle will only emit water and surplus air.
JAXA and Toyota have been working together to study the plan since May 2018.
NASA will land the first woman and next man on the Moon in 2024 as part of the Artemis mission
Artemis was the twin sister of Apollo and goddess of the Moon in Greek mythology.
NASA has chosen her to personify its path back to the Moon, which will see astronauts return to the lunar surface by 2024 – including the first woman and the next man.
Artemis 1, formerly Exploration Mission-1, is the first in a series of increasingly complex missions that will enable human exploration to the Moon and Mars.
Artemis 1 will be the first integrated flight test of NASA’s deep space exploration system: the Orion spacecraft, Space Launch System (SLS) rocket and the ground systems at Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral, Florida.
Artemis 1 will be an uncrewed flight that will provide a foundation for human deep space exploration, and demonstrate our commitment and capability to extend human existence to the Moon and beyond.
During this flight, the spacecraft will launch on the most powerful rocket in the world and fly farther than any spacecraft built for humans has ever flown.
It will travel 280,000 miles (450,600 km) from Earth, thousands of miles beyond the Moon over the course of about a three-week mission.
Artemis 1, formerly Exploration Mission-1, is the first in a series of increasingly complex missions that will enable human exploration to the Moon and Mars. This graphic explains the various stages of the mission
Orion will stay in space longer than any ship for astronauts has done without docking to a space station and return home faster and hotter than ever before.
With this first exploration mission, NASA is leading the next steps of human exploration into deep space where astronauts will build and begin testing the systems near the Moon needed for lunar surface missions and exploration to other destinations farther from Earth, including Mars.
The will take crew on a different trajectory and test Orion’s critical systems with humans aboard.
The SLS rocket will from an initial configuration capable of sending more than 26 metric tons to the Moon, to a final configuration that can send at least 45 metric tons.
Together, Orion, SLS and the ground systems at Kennedy will be able to meet the most challenging crew and cargo mission needs in deep space.
Eventually NASA seeks to establish a sustainable human presence on the Moon by 2028 as a result of the Artemis mission.
The space agency hopes this colony will uncover new scientific discoveries, demonstrate new technological advancements and lay the foundation for private companies to build a lunar economy.