Toyota Reaches for the Moon

Photo Credit: Toyota & JAXA

22 September 2020

Toyota’s Land Cruiser has been the pioneer in off-roading since decades. Last year, the Japanese car maker made public its intention of building the ultimate SUV that could drive on the moon. The ambition is becoming a reality, as Toyota in association with Japanese Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) has announced the name of a new space utility vehicle as the “Lunar Cruiser”. This lunar roving vehicle will build on the reputation of the Land Cruiser and be designed to survive and conquer practically any terrain.

The lunar roving vehicle technology has evolved since the Apollo era 40 years ago; and the Lunar Cruise is set to elevate the same through its fuel-cell electric vehicle technology. This fuel cell powered cruiser is expected to have a driving range of 10000 km and can support living accommodation for two astronauts through its living space of 13 cubic metres, the capacity can be extended to cater four people in case of an emergency.

According to Toyota, the specifications of the Lunar Cruiser are: It will measure 6.0 metres in length, 5.2 metres in width and 3.8 metres in height. From the Toyota concept images, the Luna Cruiser will be a six-wheeled drive with state-of-the-art wheel and tyre technology. The circumference of the moon is nearly ten and a half thousand kilometres and the rover is expected to complete it in roughly six years. The pressurised vehicle will be able to travel vast distances as the on-board fuel cell range would be augmented by the large adjustable solar panels.

Currently, Toyota and JAXA are constructing the parts for the vehicle prototype and running various testing and simulations to ensure adequate power and heat dissipation performance while running on the difficult terrain of the moon. The development phase is targeted to be completed by the year 2029, with the moon mission taking place in 2030.