Toyota is Developing A New Lunar Cruiser for Japan’s Moon Mission
August 31, 2020
Toyota Motors has joined forces with the Japanese Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) in early 2019 to develop a six-wheeled, pressurized fuel-cell rover capable of transporting two astronauts and their gear on the moon, according to AutoBlog.
Both JAXA and Toyota agreed to name the new vehicle Lunar Cruiser, which of course, plays off the Toyota Land Cruiser 4×4, Toyota’s longest-running nameplate, according to Motortrend. Toyota stated it chose the name because it represents “quality, durability, and reliability expected of the pressurized lunar rover, and the concept that Toyota has long held to for the Land Cruiser, which was for people to ‘come back alive.’”
Toyota has built a reputation for building reliable automobiles. They recently enjoyed a slew of positive PR after winning two back-to-back 24 Hours of Le Lemans with their TS050 Hybrid race car.
According toMotortrend, the rover will be around 20 feet long, weigh around 14,000 Earth-gravity pounds with a GVWR (gross vehicle weight rating) of 10 tons. The lunar cruising range will be around 6,214 miles. The rover will eventually be traveling that total distance, which will take six years and is roughly the circumference of the moon.
Toyota and JAXA are currently building test parts for the first prototype. The overall design of the vehicle is being tested in various simulations to make sure there is enough power and heat dissipation for the cruiser. Toyota is also redesigning wheels to handle all sorts of rough and rocky lunar terrain in its eventual long journey around the moon.
The Lunar Cruiser is scheduled to blast off in 2030. As for Land Cruiser fans, Toyota is currently working on a new model and will likely ditch its V8 and adopt a twin-turbocharged V6.