Space start-up Astrolab Inc. is building a robotic moon rover the size of jeep to the lunar surface sometime in the next few years. (The particular prototype shown above has room for passengers.) The Flexible Logistics and Exploration Rover (FLEX) will be delivered to the moon by SpaceX's massive Starship spacecraft as soon as mid-2026. Kenneth Chang writes in the New York Times:
Although the Soviet Union in the 1970s and more recently China have landed robotic rovers on the moon, the United States has yet to send any. (NASA did put wheels on the moon with the "moon buggy" that the astronauts drove during Apollo 15, 16 and 17.)[…]
[Astrolab founder Jaret Matthews] said Astrolab would make money by lifting and deploying cargo for customers on the lunar surface. That could include scientific instruments. In the future, the rover could help build lunar infrastructure.
"Essentially providing what I like to call last-mile mobility on the moon," Mr. Matthews said. "You can kind of think of it like being U.P.S. for the moon. And in this analogy, Starship is the container ship crossing the ocean, and we're the local distribution solution."
A robotic arm on the rover can help set up the payload on the surface.