Small Pressurized Rover

NASA have been testing ideas for Lunar Rovers.  You’ll remember what a success the Rovers for Apollos 15-17 were.  These were ideal for exploration as the astronauts could stop and get off when they pleased to collect samples as the need arose.  It was neatly packed into one of the quadrants of the descent stage of the LM, and was easily deployed.

It’s good to see radical new ideas being considered and this Small Pressurised, sorry, Pressurized Rover (SPR) seems to improve on the original idea in several ways:

  • a shirt-sleeve cab for driving, minimising the time astronauts need to stay suited up
  • egress in, apparently, just 10 minutes via suits which stay outside…
  • …minimising the amount of dust brought inside
  • the option to drive from outside while suited up
  • a 2.5cm layer of ice over part of the craft to act as a solar-storm shield and heat sink
  • improved manouverability

There’s still only room for two (four at a pinch), but the range is proposed to be a massive 240km.

It’s not clear how this will get to the Moon, nor can I see how the large docking hatch can be used to dock with an ascent stage much further from the ground, but I very much like what I see.

Clearly nasty accidents can happen even in Earth testing.  The astronaut on the left here has lost the legs of his suit, or perhaps he just managed to inside-out them on the way back into the Rover?


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