First Mode backs plan for marathon moon rover

Intrepid moon rover
This artist’s conception provides a rough idea of what the Intrepid moon rover would look like. (ASU / First Mode Graphic)

Seattle-based First Mode is working with Arizona State University and other partners to draw up a concept for a rover that could travel more than 1,100 miles across the moon’s surface over a four-year period.

NASA is funding the concept study, which is due next June.

The rover, dubbed Intrepid, would travel farther than any previous rover in NASA’s history to check out more than 100 sites for signs of lunar water ice.  Intrepid would also map radiation, solar wind and the chemical makeup of lunar soil. The mission’s proposed landing site is in the region of the moon’s Reiner Gamma magnetic anomaly, north of the lunar equator, and the rover would wend its way northward to Aristarchus Crater.

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By Alan Boyle

Mastermind of Cosmic Log, contributor to GeekWire and Universe Today, author of "The Case for Pluto: How a Little Planet Made a Big Difference," past president of the Council for the Advancement of Science Writing.

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