The American aerospace agency NASA and Astrobotic Technology have announced the completion of one of the test stages of the small rover CubeRover, which could replace large rovers in the future.

One of the main advantages of such rovers is the much lower payload weight, which affects the launch cost. The greater this weight, the more expensive it is to launch.

There are several examples of how the weight of spacecraft and satellites can be reduced, for example, CubeSats – small satellites that weigh up to 1.3 kg.

NASA and Astrobotic Technology are also striving to implement this approach to rovers. The height and length of the CubeRover are about 45 centimeters with a weight of up to 4 kilograms. For comparison, China landed a 250-kilogram spacecraft on the Moon last year.

During tests of a miniature rover in the NASA laboratory, they created an analoge of the lunar surface to test how the wheels of the CubeRover could overcome it. In total, the engineers tested 11 different rover wheel options. The rover has passed over 150 mobility tests, but there are about a thousand more to come.

Astrobotic said that the CubeRover will definitely be ready by 2024. The third stage of NASA's Artemis mission is planned for that year, providing a manned flight to the Moon.