frenetic rhythm The gear release meant it was inevitable that WIRED would not reach all of these devices in time. But if they matter, don’t worry, we’ll catch up eventually.Yes, some may take longer to implement than others, however, in 50 years Late to the party, I admit, this review is pushing the patience of loyal readers. However, since this is an assessment of such an iconic electric vehicle, in addition to NASA’s Lunar Rover, or LRV (more commonly known as the Lunar Rover), I hope you’ll excuse the lateness.
The astronomical delay is simply because Charles Duke, as one of only six people to ever ride an LRV on the lunar surface, is an understandably difficult person to pin down. Wired finally got the chance to catch up with the 86-year-old former astronaut and lunar module pilot for a complete look at how this unique electric ride performed on the Apollo 16 mission in April 1972.
Built by Boeing and General Motors for the last three missions of the Apollo program, lunar rover Compared to modern EVs, it’s remarkably light, weighing just 460 pounds (210 kilograms) on Earth (which translates to 77 pounds or 35 kilograms on the moon). It can carry a maximum payload of 1,080 pounds (490 kilograms), including two astronauts, equipment and lunar samples.
Of course, we’re used to modern electric cars delivering impressive top speeds these days, but back in the 1970s, lunar rovers were designed to traverse the moon’s rough surface at 8 miles per hour. But it did hit a staggering 11.2 mph on its last mission, Apollo 17, in late 1972.
The full range is 57 miles (92 km) on two 36-volt silver-zinc-potassium-hydroxide non-rechargeable batteries with a charge capacity of 121 amp-hours each (242 amp-hours total). It’s like driving from the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco to the city of San Jose. But once those batteries died, the wagon became useless.
In addition, the final cost of the four rovers built for Apollo missions 15, 16, and 17 was $38 million (additional rovers for spare parts), bringing the total cost of the off-road vehicle to $262.8 million. money today. This makes LRV the ultimate wallet-breaking one-time purchase, vehicle or otherwise.
Some context would be useful here. For the same amount of money, you can buy 6,655 Tesla Model 3s and still have spare change. Or you can go as crazy as Elon with 1,051 Founders Series Tesla Roadsters (if they ever come to fruition) Musk’s private He shoots into space. And, more importantly, they can be charged.
But here’s the thing: None of these EVs, and any other EVs you’ll find on the highway, can carry two astronauts, scientific equipment, and lunar soil and rock samples in a row about 238,900 miles from Earth, continuously About 78 hours. The vacuum is one-sixth of our gravity. The lunar rover can. Let’s remember, it took only 17 1/2 months from a blank slate to NASA delivery, and 60 months for the spacesuit alone. So let’s not quibble over a few million.
Away from a flat tarmac, NASA knew the rover would have to deal with terrain covered in extinct volcanoes, impact craters and lava flows. In fact, the lunar surface is so uneven that NASA warned its Apollo astronauts not to go faster than 10 mph in the wagon, or they estimated they would be off the ground 35 percent of the time. Therefore, electric vehicles must be extremely maneuverable to ensure the safety of their occupants.