What will NASA’s next generation of lunar landers be like? Well, right now the Altair lander is just a concept and the fine details of what the inside crew cabin will look like are still being figured out. But there are some general parameters the Altair program uses as a guideline, such as the lander needs to carry four astronauts to the lunar surface and serve as their home for up to a week. So that means Altair has to be much bigger than the Apollo lunar landers. (See below for a comparison of Altair and Apollo) There are Altair mock-ups already built at the Johnson Space Center in Houston where habitability teams are working inside, trying out different configurations. These teams are taking a look at how astronauts will live and work inside, so that Altair can be built in the best way possible for the mission. So what is their idea of how the inside will look? The folks at NASA have created a video depicting a 360 degree tour, just like the online home tours that realtors have for selling houses! So take a spin around inside! Click here for Windows Media, and here for RealPlayer.
NASA has a few other great videos of what landing on the moon will be like with Altair:
And check out this page on NASA’s website for an interactive Flash feature about Altair, and a concept video about landing, living and working on the moon.
How do Altair and the Apollo lander compare? One current concept for Altair is that it will stand more than 9.7 meters (32 feet) high and have a volume of 31.8 cubic meters (1,120 cu ft). The 1960’s-70’s Apollo lander stood 6.37 meters (20.9 ft) high and had an interior volume of 6.65 cubic meters (235 cubic feet).
Source: NASA Blogs