The largest rover ever to go to the moon is on the way. The event is the Flexible Logistics and Exploration (FLEX) rover being developed by space company Venturi Astrolabe. It will be launched in 2026. The rover will be carried to the moon by Starship, a huge rocket under construction by the SpaceX company. Once completed, Starship will be the world’s largest rocket.
Flex Rover weighs more than two tons. Due to its size and weight, this rover can perform many scientific experiments on the moon. All rovers sent to the Moon so far have gone there with a mission of some sort. But the Flex is not a single-minded rover like this.
This rover has many different missions and objectives. Its agenda ranges from high-value experiments on the moon to technology demonstrations. The Flex rover will serve as a companion to all future human missions to the Moon.
This rover is also capable of carrying a load of up to 1500 kg. Apart from carrying luggage, rover can also provide many services like electricity and data to the passengers. So far, three countries have landed rovers on the lunar surface.
These are US, Russia and China. The first rover to land on the moon was Lunakhod 1, which was carried to the moon by the spacecraft Luna 17 in 1969. The rover landed in the Sea of Rains region of the Moon.
The United States landed a 4-wheeled rover called the Lunar Roving Vehicle on the Moon during 1971–1972 for the Apollo 15, 16, and 17 missions. It was capable of carrying 2 passengers. China’s Yutu rover landed on the moon as part of their Changi 3 mission. It was China’s first lunar rover, and the rover was decommissioned in 2016.