Published: Fri, October 05, 2018
Science | By Michele Flores

Lockheed Martin unveils lunar lander concept meant send astronauts to the moon

Lockheed Martin unveils lunar lander concept meant send astronauts to the moon

Plans for the Lunar Gateway were unveiled at a conference in Germany on Wednesday.

In conjunction with the Lunar Gateway, the Mars Base Camp Precursor Lunar Lander would take astronauts and 1.1 tons of cargo to the Moon's surface, according to a Lockheed white paper on the topic.

NASA and Lockheed would work together on the project, with the lander proposed to launch from the planned space station Deep Space Gateway.

Among the plan's strategic objectives, NASA calls for returning USA astronauts on the surface of the moon.

When astronauts finally walk on the moon again, they could be in for a long stay - as Lockheed Martin has shown off a giant lunar landerbuilt for two-week stints.

Cichan continued: "Because this lander doesn't have to endure the punishment of re-entering Earth's atmosphere, it can be re-flown many times over without needing significant and costly refurbishment".

"I am pleased to expand the commercial agreement in the lunar environment, as innovative partnerships are essential as we move back to the moon and create new opportunities there", said Bridenstine.

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In August, researchers found frozen water on the Moon for the first time.

Lockheed said that the lander design uses technology developed for its Orion Multi-Purpose Crew Vehicle, a vehicle it says is "the only spacecraft designed for long-duration, human-rated deep space exploration".

The companies say they're partnering on a future Blue Moon mission to the lunar surface and will collaborate on a payload for Blue Origin's reusable, orbital-class New Glenn rocket - but it sounds as if the details still have to be worked out.

The moon lander can then stay on the surface of the moon for a fortnight before returning to the "mothership", where it will be refuelled and readied for its next lunar landing. First of all, Gateway needs to be deployed, and for this happen NASA needs to launch the Space Launch System (SLS), the most powerful rocket humans have ever built.

According to a NASA statement, "the agreement exemplifies the innovative approach that NASA and its worldwide partners are taking to team up with commercial partners to advance important science and exploration objectives on and around the Moon".

NASA's goal is to send a manned mission to Mars in the 2030s.

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