NASA Needs Commercial Help Putting Robots on the Moon

NASA is looking for help creating a new robotic rover that will deliver cargo to the surface of the moon.

NASA is looking for help creating a new robotic rover that will deliver cargo to the surface of the moon.

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In an effort to advance technologies needed to get astronauts to an asteroid or Mars , NASA wants to get back to the moon. The space agency needs robotic technology to help them get there.

The robotic machine NASA wants to build must be able to ferry cargo weighing 66 pounds to 1,102 pounds to various lunar sites.

The space agency is seeking proposals from the private sector and plans to create a partnership to build robotic a lunar lander..

The program is dubbed Lunar CATALYST, for Lunar Cargo Transportation and Landing by Soft Touchdown.

"As NASA pursues an ambitious plan for humans to explore an asteroid and Mars, U.S. industry will create opportunities for NASA to advance new technologies on the moon," said Greg Williams, NASA's deputy associate administrator for the Human Exploration and Operations Mission Directorate. "[This] will help us advance our goals to reach farther destinations."

NASA noted that, in a partnership, the agency would be able to contribute the technical expertise of NASA staff, access to NASA center test facilities, equipment loans, and software for lander development and testing.

NASA will host a pre-proposal teleconference on Jan. 27 to giving companies a chance to ask questions about the program.

Proposals are due by March 17. The winners are expected to be announced in April.

This article, NASA needs commercial help to bring robots on the moon, was originally published at Computerworld.com.

Sharon Gaudin covers the Internet and Web 2.0, emerging technologies, and desktop and laptop chips for Computerworld. Follow Sharon on Twitter at @sgaudin, on Google+ or subscribe to Sharon's RSS feed. Her email address is sgaudin@computerworld.com.

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This story, "NASA Needs Commercial Help Putting Robots on the Moon" was originally published by Computerworld .

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