NASA just showed us what a future moon lander might look like

NASA is working out ways to transport larger payloads to the moon.

Amanda Kooser
Freelance writer Amanda C. Kooser covers gadgets and tech news with a twist for CNET. When not wallowing in weird gear and iPad apps for cats, she can be found tinkering with her 1956 DeSoto.
Amanda Kooser

This illustration shows what the midsize lander concept would look like on the moon.


NASA just gave us a peek at what a possible future moon lander might look like. The concept design the agency shared on Monday is essentially a space-faring delivery truck, meant to carry gear like rovers to the moon's polar regions.

NASA doesn't just want to send humans to the moon with its planned 2024 Artemis mission. The space agency wants to "establish a sustainable human presence on the Moon by 2028 to uncover new scientific discoveries, demonstrate new technological advancements, and lay the foundation for private companies to build a lunar economy."

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The concept art highlights the lander's utilitarian look. There's a certain Tesla Cybertruck-flair to the angular design topped with large solar panels.

NASA is working with commercial partners to eventually deliver science and technology payloads to the moon. The space agency hopes the lander reference design will give them some food for thought as they develop their own equipment.

While this concept is dedicated to a rover payload, designers could use some of the same ideas for future human landers or other types of lunar equipment deliveries.

Engineers, scientists and space fans will enjoy browsing through NASA's technical paper (PDF) for all the details on the lander's potential components. It's a fascinating inside look at how a lunar-lander sausage is made.

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