NASA is designing a new lunar rover, and this time they’re through fucking around.
The NASA Chariot is just one potential design for a new lunar rover in the works, intended to serve as the workhorse for a permanent lunar station they plan to have in operation by 2020. It may seem like announcing a permanent settlement on the moon in just over a decade would be big news for NASA, but they just kind of slipped it under the radar here and placed the real emphasis on this sweetass concept vehicle instead. I actually think that’s a good move. The hard sciences are posting increasingly lax numbers for new recruits, and promising kids that if they get good grades and work real hard they can get a job as an astronaut – where they’ll spend all of their time in a tiny metal room with no entertainment, doing math problems – isn’t exactly enticing. That’s like promising that if you eat all of your vegetables and do your chores, you’ll get grounded forever. In outer space. And if you try to sneak out, your eyeballs explode.
So, of course they’re stressing their badass new rover first. Look at that thing:
It has “crab steering,” so that every wheel pivots and drives independently. The driver – after strapping himself in mech-style to that pilot’s chamber – can then pivot 360 degrees, steering the Chariot at full speed in every direction. The damn thing even has hydraulics, presumably to court that Ivy League Cholo demographic. The expression on that driver’s face says it all; he looks like he’s making explosion noises with his mouth. He looks like he’s about to breakdance right on that little platform. He looks like he’s out for revenge, or at least some kind of street justice. And how else were they going to make Astronauts sexy again? Which do you think would be more effective, telling prospective scientists that they get to poop in a foil bag and watch ants spin, or telling them they get to jump the Space General Lee over the Sea of Tranquility?
Actually, that concept just outshone this whole post: The Space General Lee. Does anybody have Hollywood’s number? I don’t think I could stop writing that script if I tried.
Bo-Bot bent down to adjust his jet-boots. The solar winds blew grit into his intake valves. He stood and surveyed the surroundings, desolate and unyielding.
“Git yer butt movin’, boy” said Rosco 2.0 “Boss Hoggzyl don’t like to be kept waitin’, hear?”
“I hear ya, Sheriff. No need to get your parameters in a twist.” He stepped reluctantly onto the containment platform of the Gamma-Wagon. He would miss the moon summer, sipping Lemon-rays with the boys at the old watering hole, skinny-dipping in the Seas with The Daisy Collective. He knew he couldn’t get away from the law forever, but a bot could hope…
A dull roar broke the silence. A trail of pale gray dust rose from just beyond the lip of a far crater. It was coming this way.
“Now what in the sam hell-” Rosco 2.0 began, but was abruptly cut off.
“Yeeeee-haw!” Luke-Tron’s distinct cry echoed all around them, but where was it coming from?
“Good lawd,” Rosco 2.0’s hologram jaw slackened. Bo-Bot followed his gaze upward, just in time to see Luke-Tron and the Space General Lee hovering inches above his head.
“Sorry, Sheriff. Time for these jet-boots to fly!” Bo-Bot took his cousin’s hand as Luke-Tron gunned the throttle. The engines roared into life, covering Rosco 2.0 in an explosion of debris. As they soared off beyond the horizon, laughing, Rosco 2.0 sputtered and flailed in the half-light of the lunar day. He threw his hat to the ground, and stomped on it in frustration.
“Jjjjjjjjjjuuuu-” the cylinders on the Proto-Waylon began to spin up, “uuuuu….uuuu…Just two good ol’ bots, never feelin’ no guilt. Beat all you ever saw, been in trouble with the law since they day they was built.”
Yeah. You’re welcome for the most awesome idea in history, Planet Earth, it was my pleasure.
EDIT: Also, there’s a new Cracked article by me up today, The 7 Creepiest Real Life Robots. Read it, maybe give it a digg if you like it. Or just build tiny shrines to me in your secret heart. That is good as well.