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Lunar Rover Revolution: NASA Invests in Autonomous Moon Explorers

Lunar Rover Revolution: NASA Invests in Autonomous Moon Explorers
Lunar Rover Revolution: NASA Invests in Autonomous Moon Explorers

NASA has selected three teams, led by Intuitive Machines, Lunar Outpost, and Venturi Astrolab, to work on designs for a lunar rover that can be used by astronauts and function autonomously when no crew is around.

Each company will work with NASA for the next year or so to reach what is known as a "preliminary design review" for their vehicle. The initial awards are not huge; each is a few tens of millions of dollars. But this work will set the stage for a demonstration phase, which will be worth significantly more.

After this initial design work is complete, NASA will select at least one, or potentially more, companies to press ahead with a demonstration of their rover on the lunar surface later this decade or in the early 2030s.

NASA is purchasing these rovers as a service and will issue task orders on an annual basis for 10 years. Over the lifetime of the contract, there is a combined maximum potential value of $4.6 billion for all awards. NASA would like the lunar rovers delive

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