Fifty years ago, Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin were the first people to set foot on the Moon. After this success, humanity continues to prepare for the challenges of exploring the new universe.
Before setting foot on Mars, humans need to set up a lunar base to transition. What means are we traveling here? The answer is the Lunar Electric Rover, a NASA terrain vehicle used to conquer the Moon.
Lunar Electric Rover is part of the "Constellation" mission, to send humans to the Moon once more.
In the 70s, the last three Apollo ships brought to the Moon terrain vehicles to help astronauts collect rock samples far from the landing zone. However, according to Apollo 11 astronaut, the cars in this period were as slow as golf cars. It's hard to expect more, it's the 70s, to go on the Moon was a miracle.
This time, the engineers equipped it with superior features. The purpose of the Constellation mission is to build transitional spaceship launch stations. The new car is, therefore, also equipped with unique characteristics.
A built-in pressure chamber for the car, helping astronauts live up to 2 weeks on the Moon, plus a bed, a toilet with a shower. The car is both a mobile home and can cross this terrain is also equipped with superior bulldozer capabilities, helping to build the first infrastructure for the Moonbase.
The car, nicknamed NASA "The Gold Car" has 12 wheels arranged in six pairs with its engine. All bikes can drive independently. Each pair of wheels has separate suspension parts that allow them to climb over rocks easily.
For the car to operate on the Moon, it must be electric, because there is no air for the internal combustion engine to work. Eight batteries are clamped in the chassis floor to produce more than 1,600 Nm of torque, stronger than a Bugatti Veyron. Rover can be compared with the power of a bulldozer.
Despite reaching only 20 km / h, the machine prioritizes power over speed, concurrently functions as a mobile home. The car can travel 96 km on a charge, far beyond the total distance all Apollo mission vehicles have ever accumulated. Solar-powered stations will be placed around the Moon, so astronauts can swap old batteries for new without waiting.
The vehicle costs about $ 6 million, excluding development costs. Also, the vehicle must be sent separately to the Moon by Ares boosters, not with astronauts in the module as in the 70s.
Mobile home in outer space
A center has been built in Houston, USA, that has the same terrain characteristics as the Moon to test drive. Inside this super expensive car, the front is the driving area, the rear is the living area. The steering part is quite bright, like the cockpit of a Lancaster bomber with an overview.
Due to its exceptional mobility, this lever is also designed flexibly. Advanced electronic systems drive the entire car with multiple touch screens.
The car is capable of traveling 90 degrees quickly, thanks to the independent engine. Astronauts just put the joystick right or left, no need to round like standard cars. This is truly a dream car not only for astronauts but also for car enthusiasts.
The suspension of the car feels very strange. Because there was no vibration in the vehicle, the driver could hardly feel the roughness of the road, even though going through rocks of different sizes. The design engineer has equipped the car with excellent suspension, thanks to the advances in the latest electronic anti-vibration system.
In tests in the New Mexico desert, NASA conducted a Rover test with several military-grade Humvees. After a few days, the military machines were torn to pieces, while Rover remained unharmed. Former Apollo astronaut and driver of the 1970s version - Harrison Schmitt - much appreciated Rover.
It is difficult to imagine what it would be like to drive on the Moon. Historically, humanity has only had six people tried this on Apollo missions.
This group of astronauts said that driving the terrain on the Moon is very interesting because the weak gravity gives the feeling that the car keeps flying whenever it encounters a pothole or an elephant drive. Not to mention, at that time, the wheels were made of wire mesh to reduce the load, so there was no excellent grip.
In general, vibration, squirrel, short operating distance, difficult to control was the first experience recognized by the manufacturers of the "moon supercar."
Unlike 50 years ago, now Lunar Electric Rover is equipped with "teeth" of the latest technology, promising to be a useful tool for humanity to build bases on our only natural satellite. This will be a stepping stone for understanding to conquer the red planet and possibly many other worlds.