Houston Moon Salute: Inaugurating the New NASA Lunar SUV

Houston’s entry in this morning’s afternoon’s DC inaugural parade is all set! Twittering live, NASA’s Rob Ambrose reports the new JSC-built Lunar Electric Vehicle is in the parade staging area: “LER Looks good.”

And it does! Remember that moon buggy the late-Apollo astronauts rode on the lunar surface? The new moon SUV is ready for the next generation of moon missions . . . or a few parades and photo ops at least:


When the rover reaches President Barack Obama’s box, [astronaut Mike] Gernhardt, who is also the vehicle’s project manager, will stop it, and astronaut Rex Walheim, one of two people in white spacesuits attached to the rear of the buggy, will step away.

Carrying an American flag, he’ll stride several paces toward Obama, halt and salute the new president, ending the parade.

Said Walheim: “I hope he sees that NASA is looking forward, that we have some really exciting ideas on how to handle lunar exploration.

Don’t miss NASA’s online LER exhibit, which features interactive views of the moon unit on the White House lawn.

Photos: NASA (top) and collectSpace (LER at the Johnson Space Center)

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