NASA has published a new request for information that seeks lunar vehicle ideas from American companies. The space agency is specifically interested in a type of Moon-based vehicle that will be able to transport astronauts to the lunar South Pole, doing so while navigating the unique terrain and long, cold nights found on our moon.
NASA has big plans for its next manned Moon mission, one that will, ideally, see astronauts conducting a variety of scientific experiments on the lunar surface before the end of this decade. There are many considerations that come with putting humans on the Moon, including how they’ll get around the celestial body.
Under its new request for information, NASA is asking companies to share their “input on approaches and solutions” for this kind of human transport vehicle. The space agency has some specific requirements for its Artemis lunar vehicle, noting that this won’t be “your grandfather’s Moon Buggy.”
Among other things, NASA says it needs to know whether companies are willing to provide lunar vehicles that it will be able to buy outright to own and use, or whether these companies would instead be able to offer this type of transport as a commercial service.
NASA has relied heavily on commercial aerospace companies as part of its new lunar exploration era, noting that doing so allows it to save money and speed up its mission timelines. As for this current RFI, NASA is accepting input from US companies through October 1. The future lunar transport vehicle will join NASA’s Artemis Base Camp and other infrastructure designed for long-term human presense on the Moon.