General Motors‘ Ultium technology could well end up on the Moon. Indeed, the American manufacturer is collaborating with Lockheed to design a new lunar vehicle that will be used in future missions to the Earth’s satellite.
And the same hardware found on GM’s latest creations could well make the trip to space. For now, NASA has not made its choice – several bidders are seeking the lucrative contract – but it is clear that this vehicle will be an important part of these future lunar missions that NASA has named Artemis.
Remember that in 1971, GM was selected for the lunar vehicle, the manufacturer that had worked with Boeing at the time for the Apollo missions. The engineers assigned to the Artemis project studied the work done over fifty years ago. In fact, the team simulated the 1970s lunar vehicle in a lunar environment to design the new version over the predecessor.
This lunar vehicle should be able to last for about ten years and serve for several missions. Moreover, the NASA rover must also juggle with a temperature that oscillates between -162°C and -173°C, in addition to being plunged into complete darkness for 14 days, before being in the sun for the following 14 days. Gravity is also a factor to take into consideration, it is equivalent to one-sixth of the gravity on Earth. The lunar rover will also have to withstand driving over rough terrain, including highly abrasive lunar dust, but also craters and boulders.
The Hummer EV‘s ability to traverse is also integral to the lunar rover. Where GM is swimming in the unknown is on the durability of the battery pack, with engineers preparing to push the technology to better understand how to control it in a hostile environment like the Moon. On the other hand, this research could prove beneficial for the brand’s future electric vehicles.
Furthermore, the research and development for the upcoming lunar rover could even advance autonomous driving technology on Earth, with GM reportedly intending to “create” the navigation map as the vehicle moves forward, as opposed to the way assisted driving navigation systems work on Earth, which is based on pre-set maps.