Astronauts to tour Mars in RV

There’s a rumor that Lockheed Martin is building RVs for trips to Mars. Now there’s a sentence you thought you would never read. Purely Sci-Fi you say? Au contraire.

NASA gave the aerospace titan, along with Boeing and others, a combined $65 million to prototype a deep-space habitat for its NextSTEP (Next Space Technologies for Exploration Partnerships) program by the end of the year, reports SyFy Wire.

“You think of it as an RV in deep space,” Lockheed Martin program manager Bill Pratt recently told the Orlando Sentinel on a tour of the proto at the Kennedy Space Center. “When you’re in an RV, your table becomes your bed and things are always moving around, so you have to be really efficient with the space. That’s a lot of what we are testing here.”

What is so genius about this concept is that it reuses an older module which never had a chance to make it off the planet. The Donatello Multi-Purpose Logistics Module was designed to shuttle cargo to the ISS, but it has now morphed into a sci-fi cylindrical capsule that fits four astronauts and is about the size of an RV. Except the thing you drive on asphalt doesn’t have racks for scientific research, life support systems, robotic workstations, and exercise machines along with places for the astronauts to actually sleep.

Modifying the defunct Donatello into a capsule that will eventually attach to the upcoming Deep Space Gateway, which will orbit the moon and act as a launchpad to Mars and deep space, also saved time and a massive amount of money that could be refocused on other design elements. 

“We want to get to the moon and to Mars as quickly as possible, and we feel like we actually have a lot of stuff that we can use to do that,” Pratt said.

Astronauts will reach the Gateway on NASA’s Lockheed-engineered Orion spacecraft which is expected to go into lunar orbit on an unmanned mission by 2020, with a manned mission following in 2022. The punishing 1,000-day flight to Mars – which NASA still doesn’t believe will happen anywhere near 2024 as Elon Musk does – will test both humans and machinery to their limits.

That could be the ultimate road trip.

##RVT860

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4 Thoughts to “Astronauts to tour Mars in RV”

  1. Billy Bob Thorton

    Look, we are not going to Mars already. Let’s review, we can’t even send our own astronauts to the ISS (250 miles above our heads) why you ask, because NASA decided to spend time and energy studying the weather. What was NOAA doing all the time NASA wasn’t following its mission statement.

    We need to fix the problems back home, before we spend more borrowed money on trying to go to Mars. Does anybody realize how far Mars is, and how long the trip would take

  2. Jerry

    Are there hook ups, or will it just be moondocking?

  3. Tom

    Just think of the slogans and other comments.
    Quality RV’s from the folks who brought you Challenger!
    RV quality control moves to space!
    etc…

  4. Tom

    I hope that they don’t send a team from LM to the RV manufacturing in Indiana to see how to build a RV.

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