NASA earlier this week released an official contract inquiry seeking help from the automobile industry in designing a new Moon rover.
While this isnt exactly out of character for NASA, we thought the timing was interesting. After all, if theres one vehicle that screams I belong on the Moon, its Teslas recently unveiled Cybertruck.
In case you missed it, this meme-of-a-truck is actually a real thing that Tesla CEO Elon Musk forced a team of apparently talented engineers to design and make:
Cybertruck is an electric vehicle that does zero-to-sixty in about two seconds, has really strong windows (sometimes), and looks like what a DMC DeLorean would evolve into if it were a Pokemon.
Read: Everything the Cybertruck looks like, according to the internet
The point is: does anyone out there think NASA will give the gig to any company other than Tesla? Sure theres precedent; Audi designed a rover and GMs worked with NASA for years. But these days Elon Musk is the belle of NASAs ball as his SpaceX company continues to play a growing role in the agencys future plans.
NASA intends to meet the Presidents directive in putting humans back on the Moon by 2024 and, were this to be the case, those folks will need some transportation if they want to get any work done on the surface.
The official NASA request can be found here. It states that the government seeks a vehicle thats electric and capable of driving autonomously. That sounds like a job for Teslas Autopilot which, normally, we bash over its misleading name. In this case, however, theres little chance that astronauts will put the public in danger by misusing their driver assistance features on the Moon.
But, as Amazon recently found out when Microsoft won the bid for the Pentagons JEDI contract, theres no such thing as a sure thing when it comes to the US government. Its possible any company with a decent pitch could wind up with the next rover design.
Although, we do have some suggestions if NASA boss Jim Bridenstine is reading.
First, have you considered going with Land Rover? Its the only company on Earth that could seriously make a product called the Moon Rover without looking basic.
Other options could include foregoing the auto industry all-together. What about Jony Ive (iRover?), we hear hes available, or having the Bioware team come up with a design. Unpopular opinion: The Mako from Mass Effect was, is, and always will be the greatest space buggy ever made:
Credit: Mass Effect Fandom Wiki
But, in the end, we all know that Cybertruck is the Batmobile the Moon needs, even if we deserve it more here on Earth.
H/t: Motor Trend
Published February 7, 2020 — 20:50 UTC