NASA to show 2020 Lunar Rover prototype at Obama inauguration

Posted by Samantha Rose Hunt

NASA will be sharing with the world a prototype of its new Lunar Rover during the Presidential Inauguration Parade in Washington, D.C. The Rover may be part of the planned 2020 return to the Moon by man.
Washington (DC) - NASA will be sharing with the world a prototype of its new Lunar Rover during the Presidential Inauguration Parade in Washington, D.C. The Rover may be part of the planned 2020 return to the Moon by man.

The Small Pressurized Rover, or SPR, is six-wheeled and battery powered. It will provide a finale after the many marching bands and floats scheduled to parade down Pennsylvania Avenue on January 20th precede it.

NASA is sending the new rover in the hopes the Obama Administration will support efforts to make a return trip to the moon by the year 2020 - which is currently NASA's plan. There has already been some reported tensions between Obama's transition team leader, Lori Garver, and NASA chief Michael Griffin, as questions have arisen about NASA's decision to continue developing the brand new Ares I and Ares V rockets.

The January 20th plan is that the lunar SUV, which will be piloted by SPR project manager Mike Gernhardt, will detach from the SPR vehicle in front of President Barack Obama’s box. It will be carrying the American Flag, and will then salute the new President via a robotic arm.

TG Daily reported earlier that this new, redesigned Lunar Rover will not require the astronauts to wear spacesuits. Inside the pressurized chamber they will be able to dress similarly to the way we see them on the Space Shuttle and International Space Station today, wearing tight fitting short-sleeved shirts.

NASA's return trip to the moon may also bring with it a small nuclear reactor. Capable of generating about 40 kilowatts of power (enough to power 5-10 homes on Earth), and buried deep beneath the regolith (Lunar soil), the reactor would be a lasting power source for a permanent future base.