Toyota’s first foray into off-world vehicles will, naturally, be called the Lunar Cruiser. The makers of the rugged Land Cruiser have designed a six-wheeled, all-terrain machine, powered by a fuel cell, to explore the moon in 2029.
Unlike NASA’s moon buggies the Lunar Cruiser is fully enclosed and pressurized to allow astronauts to rove around the lunar surface unencumbered by space suits. It’s designed for two but can carry four people in an emergency.
It will also be able to cover a much greater area than the Apollo-era vehicles. Toyota is shooting for a range of over 600 miles on full tanks of hydrogen and oxygen. Over the course of a 42-day mission the Lunar Cruiser could cover more than 6000 miles, with additional power provided by solar panels.
Toyota is planning for the moon machine to be part of a future international mission led by NASA and the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency. It is currently working on the interior design and its power and heat radiation performance.
“The Land Cruiser is built with the mindset, quality, durability and reliability to ‘bring you home alive,’ a quality that the company would like to carry over to the manned lunar rover, which must run in an even more severe environment and set of circumstances,” said a Toyota spokesperson.