Astrobotic’s CubeRover is on its way to NASA’s Kennedy Space Center, the robotics company announced today. The CubeRover is designed to provide a mobile platform for scientific instruments on the surface of the Moon.
CubeRover was co-developed with Carnegie Mellon University, and Astrobotic says it’s the lightest commercial planetary rover ever created. It weighs in at just about four kilograms.
A NASA team at Kennedy’s Granular Mechanics and Regolith Operations (GMRO) Laboratory will now spend months testing the rover on their simulated lunar surface. The tests will determine what types of slopes, gaps and other surface irregularities the rover can navigate, and drop testing will make sure the rover can bounce around without tipping over. The CubeRover is designed to work with multiple lunar landers, so if all goes according to plan, it will be used on multiple space missions.
NASA has also selected Astrobotic as its commercial partner for an upcoming Moon mission that will look for the location and concentration of ice on the lunar surface. That will help inform future crewed Moon landings.