This Early Lunar Rover Prototype Was Almost Forgotten

Illustration for article titled This Early Lunar Rover Prototype Was Almost Forgotten

I excavated this photo of an interesting US moon rover concept from a 1962 Hungarian science journal. I have not seen this prototype before, and sadly there is only a little info about it.

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What is known: It was made in the United States. The inflatable wheels were made of polyesther and aluminum, each of them are 6 meters tall, but only weigh 60 kilograms. The whole vehicle was 1200 kilograms.

I don't have any idea who created this design, or which company made this rover in the heat of the Space Race. If you know more, share it in the comments, please. Here is the full, unedited image:

Illustration for article titled This Early Lunar Rover Prototype Was Almost Forgotten

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DISCUSSION

Why would a Hungarian publication in 1962 have access to photos of an American prototype? Wouldn't they be on the wrong side of the East-West divide? It seems more likely that whatever it was, they published this more or less as propaganda a) to show tangible evidence that the U.S. was developing a lunar rover (and thus that NASA was a credible threat in the space race) AND/OR b) they thought it looked goofy and that publishing this would make the U.S. space program look inferior compared to whatever images of Soviet space tech the public had been exposed to.