NASA testing Lunar Chariot

New Scientist posts video of the Lunar Chariot.

Lunar Chariot
NASA tests the Lunar Chariot on a simulated moonscape. NASA

It has six wheels, all-wheel-drive, all-wheel-steering, and it's a concept of a 2020 model year car. Oh, and it's designed to drive on the moon. NASA has been working on a vehicle, the Lunar Chariot, for astronauts to use on a planned return to the moon in 2020. The design for the Lunar Chariot was influenced by the Mars rovers, Spirit and Opportunity, which proved the usefulness of having multiple driven wheels over an incredibly hostile landscape. With its all-wheel-steering, it can drive in a crab-like sideways motion, further improving its mobility over difficult surfaces. The Chariot lacks a seat, instead relying on a stand-up position for controlling the vehicle, affording a 360 degree view which will help the astronaut driver to look out for obstacles. NASA points out in its news release that the original Lunar Rover couldn't be driven in reverse because the astronauts couldn't see behind them. We assume the Lunar Chariot is electrically driven, given that gasoline won't combust all that well on the moon.

New Scientist published the following driving video of the Lunar Chariot. In these tests, the Chariot has been equipped with a blade so astronauts can excavate the surface of the moon, we assume in preparation for building a permanent base.

 

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