GM and Lockheed Martin building new autonomous moon vehicle
GM put first car on the moon in 1971
General Motors put the first car on the moon way back in 1971. Today, working with aerospace contractor Lockheed Martin, they’re planning to put a car on the moon once again. The two are working together to create a Lunar Terrain Vehicle that will let astronauts explore the surface of the moon more than ever before, part of NASA’s Artemis program.
No, GM’s Lunar Rover Vehicle, launched with Apollo 13, wasn’t the first wheeled vehicle on the moon, that goes to the Russian Lunokhod 1. But the rover was the first to hold a driver, passenger and cargo, and for us that makes it the first car.
“General Motors made history by applying advanced technologies and engineering to support the Lunar Rover Vehicle that the Apollo 15 astronauts drove on the Moon,” said Alan Wexler, senior vice president of Innovation and Growth at General Motors. “Working together with Lockheed Martin and their deep-space exploration expertise, we plan to support American astronauts on the Moon once again.”
GM’s original rovers travelled just 4.7 miles from their landing site, but the next-generation models are going to use modern electric vehicle propulsion and battery technologies to allow much more range. They’re being designed to reach the south pole of the Moon, a cold, dark, and much more rugged terrain than previously explored.
Autonomous vehicle tech will let the rovers prepare for human landings, allow for commercial payloads, and, GM says, will enhance scientific experiments on the Moon.