May 22, 2022

Here is the Lunar Cruiser, the electric car that Toyota will send to the moon in 2030

The Japanese automobile company Toyota and the Japanese space agency JAXA have just presented their new joint project: the Lunar Cruiser. It is a vehicle driven by a fuel cell electric motor, intended to explore and facilitate future habitation on the lunar surface by 2040 (and possibly Mars).

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The name “Lunar Cruiser” refers directly to the off-road capabilities of Toyota’s Land Cruiser model. The vehicle will have a spacious interior, with workstations and state-of-the-art equipment, and pressurized thanks to an airtight cockpit that will allow astronauts to stay there without a suit.

In the past, another automobile company was able to work on various space-scale projects such as General Motors was the first company to send its machines to the moon like the LRV for Apollo 15, and it also worked on the Apollo 16 and 17 missions. .

On the side of Toyota, the Japanese firm would like to see beyond the support of the journey of the astronauts and thus also works with the aim of assisting them in their task. For this, the company Gitai Japan Inc., under contract with Toyota, has developed a robotic arm which will be located outside the Lunar Cruiser and whose extremity will be interchangeable, so as to alternate between several tools as needed. As for its endurance, the rover will have a “range on the lunar surface of more than 10,000 km” and will be equipped with a fold-out solar panel with hydrogen fuel cells for power. “It’s about taking our cars to a place we’ve never been before,” says Toyota engineer Shinichiro Noda.

The Lunar Cruiser is scheduled for launch within the next 5 to 10 years, around 2030.

The Land Cruiser and its fold-out solar panel ©Toyota

© Toyota