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NASA's New Lunar Rover in Action

CmdrTaco posted more than 6 years ago | from the can-i-drive-it-to-the-mall dept.

Moon 96

holy_calamity writes "New Scientist has video of Nasa's new Chariot lunar rover in action on simulated moon surface in Houston. As the associated story explains, the two-ton "truck" has a top speed of 20km/hour and is currently fitted with a plough, with additional back hoe and drill attachments to come. Sure it's not glamorous — more of a lunar tractor — but sure looks handy for establishing that permanent moon base NASA wants."

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96 comments

Moonbases, men on Mars, and flying cars (-1, Troll)

elrous0 (869638) | more than 6 years ago | (#22868550)

Always promised and never delivered on.

Now, why don't you You NASA fans wait and mod me troll when they can actually DELIVER, instead of just making yet another promise in a 35-year history of bullshit failed promises?

I have more faith in Duke Nuke'em Forever at this point.

Re:Moonbases, men on Mars, and flying cars (1)

CRCulver (715279) | more than 6 years ago | (#22868568)

We'd get back on the moon real fast if we just allowed more corporate sponsorship. I'm starting to suspect Lunartics [youtube.com] is the future of space exploration.

Re:Moonbases, men on Mars, and flying cars (0, Troll)

Neuropol (665537) | more than 6 years ago | (#22868600)

you jack ass. it was Watergate that caused us to not focus on our next return to the moon mission during the 70s. It's only taken 40 years to bounce back from that fiasco. Leave NASA alone. At least they're trying to find ways to reach out from this planet instead of shelling out countless billions every week on a war that's destined to destroy it.

Re:Moonbases, men on Mars, and flying cars (3, Insightful)

elrous0 (869638) | more than 6 years ago | (#22868648)

No, they've spent the last 35 years just doing enough to justify their budget each year and making grandiose promises to keep people interested. They know damn well they're not going to the moon or Mars. It's all just PR and budget hearings for them now.

Re:Moonbases, men on Mars, and flying cars (1)

Fission86 (1070784) | more than 6 years ago | (#22875676)

No, they've spent the last 35 years putting their minuscule budget (http://science.slashdot.org/science/07/11/17/0549234.shtml [slashdot.org] ) to work doing ACTUAL science, like they're supposed to. Now, after the Bush administration's great idea to go back to the moon, NASA has had to slash budgets on real science experiments in order to do what the four-year thinkers (politicians) have decided is "best" for the country.

Re:Moonbases, men on Mars, and flying cars (1)

stalepie (1258756) | more than 6 years ago | (#22869066)

I don't think we ever went to the moon in the first place.

Re:Moonbases, men on Mars, and flying cars (1)

arbitraryaardvark (845916) | more than 6 years ago | (#22871612)

I don't think we ever went to the moon in the first place.

I know I didn't go to the moon. Did you?

JFK had it summed up (1)

realxmp (518717) | more than 6 years ago | (#22868746)

"We choose to go to the moon in this decade and do the other things, not because they are easy, but because they are hard"

When he made that speech we'd not even got close to the moon. You've got to aim high if you plan to achieve anything worthwhile.

Re:JFK had it summed up (1)

elrous0 (869638) | more than 6 years ago | (#22868792)

It takes more than just *aiming* high.

Re:JFK had it summed up (1)

timster (32400) | more than 6 years ago | (#22869178)

Yeah, it takes MONEY, and in NASA's case that's money from Congress. You think they have a rocket factory in the basement? Sheesh.

Re:JFK had it summed up (1)

The Spoonman (634311) | more than 6 years ago | (#22872056)

Yet, as Mr. Branson has shown, it doesn't take as much money as NASA claims.

Re:JFK had it summed up (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22871446)

"You've got to aim high if you plan to achieve anything worthwhile."

If Oswald had aimed high, Congress would have managed to budget-cut the program to death over the years. Only the fact that Kennedy had been sainted saved NASA.

Re:Moonbases, men on Mars, and flying cars (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22868824)

They haven't had the motivation. But just wait until the politicians realize how much gasoline there is on Titan.

Re:Moonbases, men on Mars, and flying cars (1)

call-me-kenneth (1249496) | more than 6 years ago | (#22869094)

The thing that never seems to occur to anyone here is that the reason these things never arrive has nothing to do with what's technologically possible, and everything to do with what's economically practical. Personal jetpacks and permanent moon bases will always cost a fortune and will never make anything back. Hence it's a waste of time and money even thinking about them.

Now what the "troll" mods send me to oblivion for saying the unsayable.

Re:Moonbases, men on Mars, and flying cars (1)

BlackSnake112 (912158) | more than 6 years ago | (#22869634)

So now we can say: That's no moon... It a moon with a space station...

ok bad mod me -5 old joke used too often

Re:Moonbases, men on Mars, and flying cars (2, Insightful)

pleappleappleap (1182301) | more than 6 years ago | (#22871176)

They'd be able to succeed if there weren't luddites like you cutting their budget.

Re:Moonbases, men on Mars, and flying cars (1)

elrous0 (869638) | more than 6 years ago | (#22871526)

I'm not a luddite. I'm just not a dreamer who throws money at wasteful and pointless programs just to show up some commies.

Re:Moonbases, men on Mars, and flying cars (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22879614)

Clearly, the idea of manned human spaceflight must seem outlandish. Then again, perservatives, microwaves and satellites would have seemed pretty outlandish to the average schmoe around 1850.

Much better to spend 30% of the federal budget on bombs and guns, amirite? No dreaming allowed, and that'll definelty show up some commies.

NASA's new Forsty Poophole in Action (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22868554)

I'm fresh out... can someone provide witty text?

Simulated surface (5, Funny)

chrisjwray (717883) | more than 6 years ago | (#22868576)

I wonder if this is the same simulated surface where the original landings were filmed.

Re:Simulated surface (5, Funny)

oni (41625) | more than 6 years ago | (#22868682)

no, the original landings were filmed in Area 51, but that whole region is now a radioactive wasteland, so now they've actually had to move the *testing* to the moon, so that the public doesn't know Earth has been polluted.

It's easy to see through NASA's lies. Why are there no clouds in the sky in this footage? Answer: it's because they're on the moon, and they added in the blue sky using Adobe Aftereffects, but they couldn't make realistic clouds so they left those out.

Why didn't the rover kick up little clouds of dust? Answer: because there's no air on the moon.

Re:Simulated surface (4, Funny)

alexhard (778254) | more than 6 years ago | (#22869430)

Everybody knows the original landings were filmed at a soundstage on Mars. [xkcd.com]

Re:Simulated surface (1)

explosivejared (1186049) | more than 6 years ago | (#22868874)

No, I'm pretty sure the original soundstage was destroyed by the mobsters that hired Lee Harvey in a black helicopter training exercise. The mobsters were inexperienced with operating the super stealthy aircraft, and when they tried to lift the loch ness monster with a couple, they dropped the monster, destroying the original forever.

Original Fake Moon Landing Sound Stage [wikipedia.org] ... it's the truth.

Re:Simulated surface (1)

Sockatume (732728) | more than 6 years ago | (#22869298)

Don't be a fool, everyone knows that the special cameras created homeopathic van Allen radiation in the regiolith which destroyed the original set through a Golden Ratio masonic pyramid conspiracy.

But does it have a gun rack? (5, Funny)

UberHoser (868520) | more than 6 years ago | (#22868596)

Also all the other things a "truck" in Houston should have.

*Gun Rack
*Redneck Bumper stickers
*Shiney nude girl mudflaps
*A Wooden Back bumper (Usually 4x8)
*Empty Bud cans on the floor
*A Nascar Sticker on the Back window. #3 or #8) or both !
*Marlboro boxes everywhere.

Re:But does it have a gun rack? (1)

JudgeFurious (455868) | more than 6 years ago | (#22869006)

Hey! Just one damn minute!

Technically speaking that's a pair of 4x8's held together with deck screws. One 4x8 ain't gonna do shit in an accident.

Re:But does it have a gun rack? (2, Insightful)

Knitebane (64590) | more than 6 years ago | (#22869054)

It's #88 now you insensitive clod!

Re:But does it have a gun rack? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22870958)

They gave him that number cuz he was twice as good as #8.

You're missing one crucial component... (0)

mobby_6kl (668092) | more than 6 years ago | (#22869896)

The truck balls [amazon.com] .

Re:But does it have a gun rack? (1)

h.ross.perot (1050420) | more than 6 years ago | (#22870994)

You for got the 108 inch CB antenna whips.. 2 of them if they are really cool.

Re:But does it have a gun rack? (2, Funny)

mikael (484) | more than 6 years ago | (#22871182)

Redneck Bumper stickers



"If you can read this, I've lost my trailer."

"I feel like I'm diagonally parked in a parallel universe."

"Honk If Parts Fall Off"

"Chrome don't get ya home"

"If you can read this - you're too damn close!"

Missing items if in texas (1)

WindBourne (631190) | more than 6 years ago | (#22876732)

Has to have the GD Texas state flag being displayed, a bumber sticker that says "proud to be a texan" and another saying "the south will rise again". Of course, this is NASA. When I taught there, nearly all said that they love NASA, but hate Texas.

Lunar base (5, Funny)

PodissRT (914949) | more than 6 years ago | (#22868626)

As the associated story explains, the two-ton "truck" has a top speed of 20km/hour and is currently fitted with a plough, with additional back hoe and drill attachments to come. Sure it's not glamorous -- more of a lunar tractor -- but sure looks handy for establishing that permanent moon base NASA wants.
It looks handy for establishing the moon base, and knocking out its fiber optics.

Re:Lunar base (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22869652)

As the associated story explains, the two-ton "truck" has a top speed of 20km/hour and is currently fitted with a plough, with additional back hoe and drill attachments to come. Sure it's not glamorous -- more of a lunar tractor -- but sure looks handy for establishing that permanent moon base NASA wants.


I somehow have the feeling that there's an L missing somewhere in this sentence, but I can't figure out where ...

Advertise on the moon (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22868672)

Good. Now we can advertise on the moon [advertiseonthemoon.net] , thanks NASA! :)

Multi-Orientation? (1)

Ngarrang (1023425) | more than 6 years ago | (#22868694)

It seems like new lunar tractor can drive forward in any orientation. That is pretty cool.

Re:Multi-Orientation? (1)

myxiplx (906307) | more than 6 years ago | (#22868724)

It looks like it's module too. That's also pretty cool. Ship em up a few at a time, and just bolt pieces together if you need a bit more pulling power.

Re:Multi-Orientation? (1)

myxiplx (906307) | more than 6 years ago | (#22868774)

gaah, modular

If this was New Jersey (0, Troll)

StonedYoda47 (732257) | more than 6 years ago | (#22868738)

I'm sure there's some people that would want to have a word with NASA. Can't just start building stuff whenever you want you know.

NOT in action (0, Offtopic)

davidwr (791652) | more than 6 years ago | (#22868764)

At the risk of being modded -1 pendantic:

If it's not on the moon roving, it's not "in action."

Advertise on the moon (-1, Redundant)

phoneteller (1261402) | more than 6 years ago | (#22868776)

Good. Now we can advertise on the moon [advertiseonthemoon.net] . Thanks Nasa :)

Vital component (3, Funny)

HangingChad (677530) | more than 6 years ago | (#22868784)

and is currently fitted with a plough...

Vital for those sudden lunar snow storms.

While My Rover Gently Sleeps (1)

RotJ (771744) | more than 6 years ago | (#22868794)

I guess it's cheaper for NASA to fund simulated moon action than real Mars action [google.com] .

Re:While My Rover Gently Sleeps (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22868842)

They are not hibernating either rover.

http://www.chron.com/disp/story.mpl/ap/fn/5649567.html [chron.com]

Energy Shields Activate! (4, Interesting)

bwak (1259494) | more than 6 years ago | (#22868800)

Maybe this has been discussed before on another thread, but how the heck do you protect your buildings that are completely exposed to the elements of space? Without an atmosphere to burn up or dismantle most of what comes at it, is there really a plausible way to shield your structures from essentially anything at any speed? Hopefully some of the space guys can shed some light on this for me.

Re:Energy Shields Activate! (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22868906)

How about living underground?

Re:Energy Shields Activate! (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22868918)

Certainly underground buildings would be the way to go for all the anticipated expansions of lunar and mars colonies. The lighter atmosphere of Mars (and lack of any on the moon) would allow hits by meteors that would never make it through Earth's denser atmosphere.

Additionally, the moon and Mars lack a strong magnetic shield like that of the Earth, allowing more solar and cosmic radiation to hit surface dwellers.

But before we start planning on building moon/mars dozers to build any underground bunkers or surface buildings, shouldn't we first learn how to create a working biosphere that doesn't require resupply of air from outside such as the biosphere projects up to date have? Delivering fresh air to the moon and Mars will be much more difficult than sending it to the relatively much closer space station.

Re:Energy Shields Activate! (4, Informative)

confused one (671304) | more than 6 years ago | (#22869166)

Probability on an impact is fairly low. Still would be a consideration which probably results in building (initial) permanent settlements underground. Radiation is a bigger concern, since lethal doses are possible every time energy from an x class solar flare hits the lunar surface.

Build your shelter then cover it with lunar regolith.

Burrow tunnel and build shelter underground

Dig into side of crater and build shelter into crater wall.

your choice. Simply Choose one

There's always risk. Every 100 years or so a rock big enough to do considerable damage gets through Earth's atmosphere. Every few years a storm big enough to do considerable damage hits a major population center. Hell, we live on a molten ball of rock with a crust that's only 30 or so miles thick. Tomorrow the east coast of the U.S. (where I live) could be wiped out by a tsunami.

Re:Energy Shields Activate! (1)

call-me-kenneth (1249496) | more than 6 years ago | (#22869212)

This risk is mitigated by: [x] Hoping it won't happen.

Re:Energy Shields Activate! (1)

Sockatume (732728) | more than 6 years ago | (#22869328)

I'm thinking rocks. They have a lot of those.

Re:Energy Shields Activate! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22870570)

Maybe this has been discussed before on another thread, but how the heck do you protect your buildings that are completely exposed to the elements of space?

If I were given the job, I'd sent up robots to dig an artificial cave. The robots could be radio-controlled -- the Moon is close enough to the Earth for that to work. Dig a hole, cover it with beams brought from Earth, they layer 4.5 tonnes per square meter [nasa.gov] of regolith on top for protection from solar radiation events and galactic cosmic rays.

Then deploy one of Bigelow's inflatable habitats [bigelowaerospace.com] in the cave. Then send up the humans...after the robots have set everything up for them.

Without an atmosphere to burn up or dismantle most of what comes at it, is there really a plausible way to shield your structures from essentially anything at any speed?

I don't think meteors would be a big problem, but an underground shelter would protect against those too.

Heh -- the CAPTCHA is 'reactor'. Which reminds me -- I would also power the base with nuclear power. Why saddle yourself with solar power and restrict humanity to the lunar poles?

Back ho? (4, Funny)

sm62704 (957197) | more than 6 years ago | (#22868862)

They got ho's on the moon? Sign me up!

Re:Back ho? (1)

chudnall (514856) | more than 6 years ago | (#22869438)

They got ho's on the moon?
Yeah, but watch out for the green cheese...

Re:Back ho? (1)

3waygeek (58990) | more than 6 years ago | (#22870724)

I guess Bender finally built his lunar lander [geocities.com] .

Legitimate Question. (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22868886)

Why do we not try and 'pave' parts of the moon we want to land on? Ok, granted it'd probably be pretty difficult (rocket science and all that...) to land in the exact same 30m x 30m grid every time, but the point remains. If we have so many concerns about moon dust and what damage it can cause, why don't we solidify a large section of the top layer?

I refuse to believe I'm the first person to suggest this, but I have yet to see it mentioned anywhere else.

My suggestion, since that's what your thinking at this point, is some type of ceramic.

Re:Legitimate Question. (4, Informative)

jameskojiro (705701) | more than 6 years ago | (#22869024)

Lookup "Lunar Lawnmower" it uses microwaves to sinter the top few milimeters of the lunar soil into a hard glassy like substance using microwaves.

Re:Legitimate Question. (1)

DerekLyons (302214) | more than 6 years ago | (#22876028)

Then look up "unobtanium power supply" to see the rock on which many of these schemes founder.

'...Currently fitted with a plough' (1)

jrob323 (931808) | more than 6 years ago | (#22869040)

I certainly hope farming isn't an integral part of the moonbase plan.

Re:'...Currently fitted with a plough' (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22869246)

...Or snow removal

Re:'...Currently fitted with a plough' (5, Informative)

carambola5 (456983) | more than 6 years ago | (#22869252)

Your comment was obviously tongue-in-cheek, but there are reasons for a plow. First is for infrastructure: it's useful to push off all of the fluffy regolith (moon dirt) to get to the compacted stuff when you want to drive moon buggies and such things.

More interesting (for me, at least) is for excavation. The plow is used to strip the top layer of loose regolith so that a mining attachment can dig up the compacted stuff. There is evidence of water ice near the poles as well as He-3, so an effective cutterhead and muck retriever could collect resource-laden material. I just so happen to be lead mechanical engineer on such a Chariot-attachable mining module. :)

Re:'...Currently fitted with a plough' (1)

jrob323 (931808) | more than 6 years ago | (#22871180)

Yes, I was kidding, but thanks for the reply. Very interesting!

Re:'...Currently fitted with a plough' (1)

RobBebop (947356) | more than 6 years ago | (#22870544)

With a 65,000 kg payload capacity on the Ares V [wikipedia.org] it is likely that they won't depend on farming to sustain a lunar base. Especially since the Earth-Moon voyage takes less than a week. However, I speculate that the 6 month Earth-Mars trip would be a compelling reason to push for farming capability so that future visitors don't have to rely so heavily on Earth supplied resources to survive.

As far as having a plough... well that is just necessary for clearing the lunar landscape so that any long-term platform doesn't sink and settle into the loose Moon soil. I wouldn't go so far as to speculate whether they intend to pour a foundation, but "Earth-moving" tools like a bulldozer are as helpful on the Moon as they are on Earth for construction projects....

moon base? (1)

boombasticman (1232962) | more than 6 years ago | (#22869260)

Who should live on the moon? There could be build a high security prison for dangerous people, or a permanent home for previous world leaders/ unwanted politicians.

Re:moon base? (1)

carambola5 (456983) | more than 6 years ago | (#22869404)

And just hand them the opportunity to live on another world? Screw that. Give the opportunity to some of the most gifted minds of science and engineering.

Like me. :)

Re:moon base? (1)

Digi-John (692918) | more than 6 years ago | (#22870328)

The Fletcher Memorial Home for Incurable Tyrants and Kings

Robotics (1)

WindBourne (631190) | more than 6 years ago | (#22869292)

It would be interesting to automate this and then send a couple of these to a moon to start work ahead of time.

Re:Robotics (2, Insightful)

TomRC (231027) | more than 6 years ago | (#22869852)

Well DUH!

We could have been doing THAT for the past 30 years or so using tele-operated robots. By now we'd have a substantial robotic base, likely mining lunar water to make rocket fuel and lunar soil to make fuel tanks. But all that would've done is cut the cost of space missions about in half, while greatly advancing the state of robotics.

Who'd want any of that?!

Re:Robotics (1)

inKubus (199753) | more than 6 years ago | (#22878810)

Yeah, it just seems so much simpler to just throw a war and BURN the money.

Looks fairly stable, but... (3, Insightful)

TomRC (231027) | more than 6 years ago | (#22869612)

I think it really needs a roll-bar or cage to protect the lunar worker. Our terrestrial intuitions about what looks stable may not be accurate for the mooon.

Re:Looks fairly stable, but... (1)

NewbieProgrammerMan (558327) | more than 6 years ago | (#22874268)

I think it really needs a roll-bar...

Sweet, then you'd have something to mount the KC lights and flag on. (So glad it wasn't being tested up north where I'm sure there's not as much to make fun of)

Seriously though, when I saw the video I was wondering what goes into determining dynamic stability of a vehicle when you're tooling around in less gravity. I thought it seemed like the outer set of wheels could be raised/lowered, but maybe that was just an illusion caused by it running across uneven ground.

I'd be willing to be there's been no shortage of simulations in moon gravity to make sure the thing isn't horribly unstable, though.

Re:Looks fairly stable, but... (1)

DerekLyons (302214) | more than 6 years ago | (#22876062)

Except that here on earth, we don't design such things by intuition. We design them by calculating the centre of gravity, tipping forces, etc... etc... The equations don't change by changing the name of the planetary body the machine operates on.

Robo-Dozer (1)

JPEWdev (770760) | more than 6 years ago | (#22869700)

This reminds me of the Robo-Dozers on the old Outpost http://www.outpostuniverse.net/ [outpostuniverse.net] computer games. Good games, they taught me a lot about resource managment for Real Time Strategy.

Runways? (0, Troll)

PaulG.1 (1198147) | more than 6 years ago | (#22869892)

W is such an idiot. The first step for warmongering America is to build runways on the moon for AIRPLANES!!! NO WAR FOR MOONDUST!!

Re:Runways? (0, Offtopic)

PaulG.1 (1198147) | more than 6 years ago | (#22870672)

Still learning "The Rules" around here. Stuff that "Matters". You didn't even get the "airplanes on the moon" schtick. No sense of humor whatsoever. News for nerds. THAT much I get. No thanks. Subtract one "Troll" from you database. I need to get my "Karma" back before I die so I don't have to spend a miserable eternity in NerdsHateMeHades. SEE YA!

Something like this? (1)

d3m0nCr4t (869332) | more than 6 years ago | (#22869958)

two-ton truck? So it's something like this [photobucket.com] ?

Why? Sounds like ISS, only worse. (1)

Jugalator (259273) | more than 6 years ago | (#22869990)

I'm all for space exploration, but a base on the moon just sounds like ISS Deluxe to me, a huge money sink for NASA's strained budget?

What is the enormous science potential for an as far reaching project like that? At least on Mars, we haven't set foot there before and it's still a curious planet with lots of unknowns, but our Moon has already been studied -- from the surface itself as well as from above.

Is it mostly just a stepping stone to Mars? Do we really have to have a Moon station there first? Because building stations on moons are probably not cheap, neither in time nor other costs.

Re:Why? Sounds like ISS, only worse. (1)

oni (41625) | more than 6 years ago | (#22874994)

What is the enormous science potential for an as far reaching project like that?

Well three things:
1. As you probably know, bone loss is quite rapid in zero-G. Astronauts who stay in orbit for six months or more have to be pulled out of the capsule and put into a wheelchair when the return to Earth. So far, even after all the time spent on ISS, nobody has come up with an exercise regimen that really helps. There's real concern that we may not be able to go to Mars *ever* (for sufficiently small values of ever) because astronauts are going to be weak and useless when they arrive.

One possible solution is, hang a weight off the space ship and spin it to provide gravity. You would *not* be able to provide full 1G acceleration, but you might be able to do 1/10 or so. Question: will that slow or stop bone loss? Answer: nobody knows. It's not possible to simulate 1/10G. You could build a space ship to do it, but you could also do this test on the moon. You would basically throw away the space ship, but the moon base would last longer.

So it makes sense to go to the moon in order to learn how to live in low G environments without your bones turning to jello.

2. Remember Apollo 13? Stuff like that is going to happen. If it happens between here and the moon, you might be able to make it back alive. If that happened on the way to Mars you're fucked. So it makes sense to develop the technology for interplanetary space travel by taking shorter trips. Actually, a lot of that technology can be (is) developed by going to LEO too.

3. I think it'd be great if we'd go to Mars or to the Moon, but what's better than going is staying. If we can get to the moon in a way that sustainable, vs. a big Apollo-like program that gets us to Mars and then gets canceled, I'm all in favor of the moon.

Re:Why? Sounds like ISS, only worse. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22876192)

In addition to what the other poster said, believe it or not, we still don't know all that much about the moon. It's not a homogenous ball of moondust. We know a decent amount about 6 very small spots on the moon, plus what we've been able to discern from earth and from orbit. We think we know how it formed and how old it is, but we don't have very conclusive answers for either, and both could tell us quite a bit about the earth's history, too. We know very little at all about the subsurface...just what we can infer from the tiny seismic signals detected by instruments from the first Apollo missions when the 3rd stage boosters from the later missions hit the surface.

I've actually laid hands on this thing, (3, Informative)

pecosdave (536896) | more than 6 years ago | (#22870124)

If anyone is interested, here's some pics [geeksofrage.com] my coworkers and I took. Plus a few more pages of crud.

Lunar rovers? (1)

iminplaya (723125) | more than 6 years ago | (#22870284)

Those who don't remember the sixties are doomed to repeat them.

Youve got to be all mine, all mine
Ooh, foxy lady

Here we go again (2, Funny)

hcdejong (561314) | more than 6 years ago | (#22870332)

That's no moon!

1982 wants its video game back! (3, Interesting)

RobertB-DC (622190) | more than 6 years ago | (#22870422)

From TFA:
Independent steering on each of its six pairs of wheels... give the vehicle the ability to raise or lower each individual wheel to keep its chassis level on uneven ground.

I've remotely driven that *exact* sort of vehicle! Well, in simulation [klov.com] , at least. I just can't believe it took from 1982 to now to go from simulator to prototype.

And they still didn't get the forward and vertical blasters! Hokey plows and an ancient drill bit are no match for a good blaster at your side, kid.

Slowly but surely... (1)

AioKits (1235070) | more than 6 years ago | (#22870530)

...proving we are the rednecks of space! I wonder if the moonbase is going to look like a mobile home...

Re:Slowly but surely... (1)

Jedi Alec (258881) | more than 6 years ago | (#22880138)

Only if we take the wheels off of the rover and put it on blocks in front of it :-)

What's its towing capacity? (1)

r_jensen11 (598210) | more than 6 years ago | (#22870612)

Granted, weight is not a good unit here, as the moon's gravity is around 1/4 that of the earth's (I think). But the machine looks pretty light-weight to me, especially in terms of construction equipment. How practical would this thing be? I can only see it being used as something to move a person from point A to point B. Imagining how it would use a plow is stretching my imagination.

Re:What's its towing capacity? (1)

eh2o (471262) | more than 6 years ago | (#22872382)

The dirt it has to push around is also 1/4 weight.

Re:What's its towing capacity? (1)

r_jensen11 (598210) | more than 6 years ago | (#22875564)

But the bonds that shape the form of the surface are just as strong. The loose stuff will be able to move just as easily, but the stuff barely sticking out of the ground won't. Put a flag pole in the ground, exposing only the top foot (the rest is buried underground.) The flag pole will weigh 1/4 of its amount on Earth, but you're still going to need the same amount of force to break off that foot that's sticking above ground.

Re:What's its towing capacity? (1)

John Meacham (1112) | more than 6 years ago | (#22876762)

There basically are no bonds, there is no water on the moon to provide a medium for chemical reactions to take place, no weather to mix up the elements, no glaciers to compact the ground. It's loose shards of moon kicked up by meteorite impacts all the way down to the bedrock.

Not Robotic? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22870726)

In order to go to Mars, we really need basic infrastructure waiting on the first human (housing, oxygen, etc.). This would greatly reduce the risk and cost of the trip. That means robotics. Why send a human operated 2 ton tractor to the moon when you should be practicing for "the big trip"?

Russia had impressive Rovers in 1970s (3, Informative)

peter303 (12292) | more than 6 years ago | (#22871450)

They [wikipedia.org] were nuclear powered to survive the 14-day night, drove tens of kilometers. At that time computers werent too powerful, so these were intereactively controlled (2 sec delay) with live telemetry.

Re:Russia had impressive Rovers in 1970s (2, Informative)

DerekLyons (302214) | more than 6 years ago | (#22876312)

They weren't nuclear powered - they were nuclear heated. A significant difference.

Disappointed by name rationale (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22872568)

"The Chariot - so named because the current model has no seats, windows, or doors, and can be driven from the rear -"

And here I was hoping it had been named after the vehicle in "Lost in Space."

"Where's Dr. Smith?"
"He took the Chariot to go look for diamonds."
"That son of a..."

Bigelow? (1)

WindBourne (631190) | more than 6 years ago | (#22876756)

I wonder if NASA does a good enough job, if Bigelow will be allowed to purchase a few of these? They already bought the rights from NASA for their space station. The idea is to put it on the moon surface. I could see them looking over this truck and buying at least the rights, if not a number of these. Then they could run it remotely and prepare a landing site for their station. Keep in mind that they are looking to bury it in dirt (either in a hole, or by pushing dirt on top of it).
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