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GM Joins Forces with Lockheed Martin and MDA to Develop Lunar Vehicles

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Two astronauts look at General Motor's new Lunar Terrain Vehicle on the moon, with the Earth in the background.
Photo: General Motors

GM is making its mark on space exploration history. The automaker is teaming up with Lockheed Martin and Canadian space technology firm MDA to create precise, versatile lunar vehicles. Here’s what we know about their plans to put GM-made rovers on the moon.

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A star-studded collaboration

Last year, General Motors and Lockheed Martin announced their intentions to collaborate on next-generation human-operated moon rovers. Now, MDA has joined the team, with the aim of contributing precise and versatile robotic arms to the rovers.

These future lunar vehicles will be a far cry from the buggies that accompanied astronauts on the Apollo 11 mission in 1969. While the old lunar rover only carried the astronauts 4.7 miles from the landing site, the upcoming Lunar Terrain Vehicles will be designed for more rugged conditions. GM’s LTV will have to carry astronauts to the moon’s south pole. That means the LTVs will have to endure colder, darker, and more rugged conditions than other moon rovers have had to work with.

And once these LTVs reach their destination, they need to be durable and reliable enough to deal with permanently staying on the moon. After the astronauts head home, the LTVs will continue to serve both government space agencies and privately owned space expeditions.

These LTVs will be a key part of the NASA Artemis program. It currently aims to land astronauts on the moon by the middle of the decade. These explorers will be tasked with conducting geological surveys and collecting samples of lunar material in order to understand the stellar body’s history and development.

Kirk Shireman, vice president of Lunar Exploration Campaigns at Lockheed Martin Space, explains that the collaboration between his firm, GM, and MDA is helpful on many fronts. In addition to splitting the burden of development costs, the joint effort brings more skill sets and global involvement to the project.

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