Astrolab’s Cool New Lunar Rover Will Help NASA Build A Base On The Moon
On Thursday, Astrolab announced the FLEX rover on its blog, stating that
To this end, Jaret Matthews, founder and CEO of Astrolab, explained that "FLEX achieves a wide range of utility by being able to collect, transport, and deposit any payload that conforms to what will be a standard and open interface." Further, the rover features adaptive suspension, a robotic arm and remote science mast for remote control and scientific activities, and a deployable solar array for topping up batteries while on the go.
Though Astrolab talks a big game, it seems the company is actively working on its goals by putting wheels to dirt in the Mojave Desert with astronaut and engineer Chris Hadfield. You can see what this new rover would look like in the video above, and it is quite the departure from rovers of yore. However, Hadfield explained that "As we transition from the Apollo era, which was focused on pure exploration, to now, where people will be living for longer periods on the Moon, the equipment needs to change." He continued, stating that "we don't just need to get people from one place to another, but we need to move hardware, cargo, life support equipment and more."
Ultimately, with the privatization of space travel and companies like Astrolab and SpaceX taking up the mantle, we are in the prime time for more cost-efficient extraterrestrial expansion. Perhaps one day, we will have a colony on the Moon to show for Astrolab's efforts; but until then, let us know what you think of this rover in the comments below.