The lander's first configuration will be capable of seating four astronauts as well as carrying up to 2,000lbs of cargo. The lander will be created to dock with NASA's planned Lunar Orbital Platform-Gateway for service, refueling, and storage in between missions.
Among the plan's strategic objectives, NASA calls for returning US astronauts on the surface of the moon.
The 46-foot single-stage lander is twice as tall as the Lunar Module used on the Apollo missions - and can carry four astronauts (twice as many as Apollo's Module).
According to a NASA statement, "the agreement exemplifies the innovative approach that NASA and its worldwide partners are taking to team up with commercial partners to advance important science and exploration objectives on and around the Moon".
'This lander could be used to establish a surface base, deliver scientific or commercial cargo, and conduct extraordinary exploration of the Moon'.
The Lockheed Martin lunar lander would weigh 24 tons empty, and weigh 68 tons when fully fueled.
Lockheed says that it will be re-using some of the technology developed for NASA's Orion deep space exploration vehicle including avionics, life support, and communications and navigation systems, to reduce cost and development time for the lander. "Because this lander doesn't have to endure the punishment of re-entering Earth's atmosphere, it can be re-flown many times over without needing significant and costly refurbishment".
It's expected that the Mars Base Camp Precursor Lunar Lander could be running by the later part of next decade. "That's a major advantage of the Gateway and of a modular, flexible, reusable approach to deep space exploration".
The hope is the design can be applied to future missions to Mars, as well.