The trio will develop their team’s ideas for a Lunar Terrain Vehicle (LTV) to help astronauts explore the moon’s south polar region. The area is believed to contain frozen water, so it makes sense for NASA to set up a base camp there.

All three must design vehicles that can accommodate two suitable astronauts and that can withstand the extreme conditions in the area. They must also have robotic remote control capabilities so that NASA can continue to conduct tests and research even when the astronauts are not on the moon.

The next step for them is to conduct “a feasibility assignment, which will be a dedicated one-year study to develop a system that meets NASA’s requirements during the preliminary design phase of the project.” Next, NASA will request a proposal for a demonstration mission to continue development, deliver their LTV to the lunar surface, and then validate performance and safety before the Artemis V mission.

“We will use the LTV to travel to locations we might not otherwise be able to reach on foot, increasing our ability to explore and make new scientific discoveries,” said Jacob Bleacher, principal research scientist at the Exploration Systems Development Mission Directorate at NASA headquarters. in Washington. “With Artemis crewed missions and during remote operations when there are no crew on the surface, we are enabling science and discovery on the moon year-round.”

Intuitive Machines recently made headlines after becoming the first private aerospace company to land a spacecraft on the moon. It was also the first US lunar lander to reach the moon’s surface in more than fifty years, albeit on its side.

NASA’s Artemis program aims to create a sustainable presence near the moon, ahead of the larger goal of one day preparing for human missions to Mars. The initiative was launched after former Vice President Mike Pence challenged NASA to put humans on the moon by 2024. Since then, the Artemis II mission has been pushed back to September 2025, while the landing mission, Artemis III, is now scheduled for September 2026.

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