nasa moon lander

Nasa unveils 2024 Moon lander concept vehicle

Image credit: nasa

With Nasa aiming to land astronauts back on the Moon in 2024, the space agency has revealed a concept for its future landing vehicle.

The mid-sized lander has been designed to deliver a rover to the polar regions of the Moon and the design focuses on demonstrating a highly accurate, large payload, lunar landing vehicle.

The concept also prioritises being able to carry as much weight as possible while maintaining landing site accuracy.

“This lander was designed with simplicity in mind to deliver a 300kg rover to a lunar pole,” said Logan Kennedy, the project’s lead systems engineer at Nasa’s Marshall Space Flight Centre in Alabama.

“We used single-string systems, minimal mechanisms and existing technology to reduce complexity, though advancements in precision landing were planned to avoid hazards and to benefit rover operations. We keep the rover alive through transit and landing, so it can go do its job.”

US President Donald Trump reportedly offered Nasa “all the money you could ever need” to put American astronauts on Mars and efforts to land on the Moon are seen as a stepping stone towards that goal.

Nasa says the mid-sized lander was designed to be simple and affordable, although it admits that it is not intended to survive the lunar night. It would travel aboard a commercial launch vehicle in order to reach the Moon.

“As robotic lunar landers grow to accommodate larger payloads, simple but high-performing landers with a contiguous payload volume will be needed," Kennedy said. “This concept was developed by a diverse team of people over many years and meets that need. We hope that other lander designers can benefit from our work.”

Nasa plans to establish a “sustainable human presence on the Moon by 2028” in a bid to make new scientific discoveries and demonstrate technological advancements, with the help of private companies to build a lunar economy.

In October this year, Nasa demonstrated its new ‘Orion’ astronaut suit which is designed to be stronger and more comfortable for those who wear it.

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