London-based company XTEND design recently unveiled LUNIAQ — a concept for an electric lunar rover. The vehicle is designed by Tomas Rousek, a space architect who previously worked on concept missions to the Moon, Mars, and asteroids at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory.
The concept was unveiled during an event at Czech Space Week. It was presented in Virtuplex, the largest Virtual Reality laboratory in Europe. The guests were able to have a feel of walking on the moon in the life-size simulation of Virtuplex.
It is inspired by the design of Skoda SUV cars. The vehicle is based on NASA’s MMSEV (Multi-Mission Space Exploration Vehicle) platform.
Following are some of the features of this lunar exploration vehicle:
- The wheels of the vehicle will be based on Michelin’s Tweel design.
- Large soft tires would offer comfortable driving on the rough lunar surface.
- The tires will also be puncture-proof.
- It has space for up to four astronauts.
- Electric lunar vehicles would have large transparent windows.
- Windows are made from aluminum to protect astronauts from the things like flying debris and micrometeorites.
- Polyethylene layers would also help in protecting the astronauts from radiation.
- Stereoscopic cameras mounted on top would help in scanning the terrain and also assist in its autonomous operation.
- It also has a “suitport” behind the rover. It helps astronauts to easily access their suits without the risk of dirt or other particles entering the cabin.
- Solid-state batteries power the vehicle, which can be recharged using solar panels on the roof.
Rousek said, “We would like to inspire people on how we could continue to progressively develop our technologies and one day live and drive in places other than Earth,”