New lunar rover in the works as NASA moon mission advances

Category: Science/Environment


Unlocking Word Meanings

Read the following words/expressions found in today’s article.

  1. lunar / ˈlu nər / (adj.) – relating to the moon

    A lunar calendar is used to determine dates for traditional East Asian festivals.

  2. gear up / gɪr ʌp / (phrasal v.) – to prepare for something or to do something

    Dianne is gearing up for her concert next month. She’s busy practicing all day.

  3. exemplify / ɪgˈzɛm pləˌfaɪ / (v.) – to show something by giving a clear example

    Robert exemplifies the qualities of a good citizen. He obeys the law, helps people in the community, and respects the rights of others.

  4. planetary / ˈplæn ɪˌtɛr i / (adj.) – relating to planets

    Students in the planetary science program study the planets and their systems.

  5. withstand / wɪθˈstænd / (v.) – to be strong enough to not be destroyed by something

    My house has a roof system that can withstand extreme weather conditions.


Read the text below.

A new lunar rover is under development by Lockheed Martin and Goodyear as NASA gears up for a return to the moon.

Unlike the rover first used during the Apollo 15 mission in 1971, built to last only a few days and for short trips, the new lunar vehicle is being built for extended use. And this time, it’s not just for NASA.

“We’re developing this new generation of lunar mobility vehicle to be available to NASA and for commercial companies and even other space agencies to support science and human exploration,” said Kirk Shireman, vice president of Lunar Exploration at Lockheed Martin. “This approach exemplifies NASA’s desire for industry to take the lead with commercial efforts that enable the agency to be one of many customers.”

Neil Armstrong became the first person to step onto the moon’s surface in 1969 as part of the Apollo 11 mission.

Goodyear, which was also involved in NASA’s Apollo missions, will employ the airless tire technology it uses here for autonomous shuttles and other passenger vehicles. Lockheed Martin, based in Fort Worth, Texas, has worked with NASA for more than 50 years, including NASA’s Orion exploration-class spaceship for Artemis and numerous Mars planetary spacecraft.

The lunar vehicles will need to withstand extreme conditions on the moon’s surface, where temperatures drop to -250 degrees Fahrenheit (-156.67 degrees Celsius) at night and rise to over 250 degrees Fahrenheit (121.11 degrees Celsius) during the day.

Aside from Goodyear, based in Akron, Ohio, and Lockheed Martin, MDA of Canada will provide its commercial robotic arm technology for the vehicles.

The companies anticipate having their first vehicle on the moon’s surface at the same time as NASA’s mission, planned for 2025.

This article was provided by The Associated Press.

Viewpoint Discussion

Enjoy a discussion with your tutor.

Discussion A

  • Commercial companies Lockheed Martin, Goodyear, and MDA are participating in the development of the new lunar rover. Why do you think some companies are interested in taking part in such a project? Discuss.
  • If you owned a tech-related company, would you also take part in the development of the new lunar rover? Why or why not? Discuss.

Discussion B

  • If trips to the moon should be available commercially, would you consider going? Why or why not? Discuss.
  • According to a survey, around 50% of American adults would accept a trip to the moon when given an opportunity. Why do you think they would like to go? Why do you think the other 50% surveyed are hesitant to take the trip? Discuss.