INGTON (AFP) - A prototype of NASA's Lunar Electric Rover will make the journey along Washington's Pennsylvania Avenue Tuesday in honour of Barack Obama's presidential inauguration, the space agency said Friday.
The pickup truck-sized vehicle, which is equipped with beds and a toilet, can accommodate two astronauts for a fortnight for extended lunar explorations.
To be able to cover the moon's rugged terrain, the electric-motored vehicle can also move in any direction " even sideways, like a crab.
Its versatility may not be as useful on January 20, but it will have a good view of the elite guests, dignitaries and Washington insiders that will line the inaugural parade route, as Obama moves from the swearing-in ceremony at the Capitol to his new residence at the White House.
Unless the Obama administration makes changes to current plans, US astronauts are set to return to the moon before 2020 under the Constellation program, with the aim of establishing permanent lunar bases.
The visit is widely considered to be the first step towards further exploring the solar system, including an eventual colonization of Mars.
NASA also said it is also developing new technologies for the rover that can be applied to electric vehicles on Earth.