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Toyota Baby Lunar Cruiser could drive astronauts across the moon

The first trip to the moon in over fifty years is imminent, all thanks to NASA’s Artemis Program. There are also plans to set up a base on the moon by the 2030s. If everything goes to plan, wouldn’t it be necessary to have a means of movement within the lunar surface? Well, Toyota hopes to resolve this with its Lunar Cruiser.

Toyota’s futuristic moon ride

In a move that could revolutionize how astronauts navigate the moon’s surface, Toyota proposes a futuristic electric SUV. The Baby Lunar Cruiser is an upgrade to the moon buggies that dominated the 1970s.

This advanced SUV has a sleek and functional design, similar to what is seen in most modern vehicles. However, it is equipped with several advanced features suited for use beyond Earth.

Notable features

The most outstanding feature of the Baby Lunar Cruiser is its augmented reality-powered dashboard. There is also a panoramic view and a suite of sensors and cameras that warn the riders of rough terrains and potholes ahead.

Also worthy of mention are the airless tires that eliminate any chance of puncturing, and in-wheel electric motors that would be controlled using joysticks.

Design inspiration

The biggest inspiration for the Baby Lunar Cruiser design came from Toyota’s original FJ40 Land Cruiser and the original Lunar Cruiser, which is currently being built by both Toyota and the Japanese Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA).

JAXA and Toyota expect the six-wheel, self-driving rover to be ready to land on the moon in 2029. The design is based on the idea that people eat, work, sleep, and communicate with others safely in cars, and the same can be done in outer space.

The rover will include space for two people to live and work for about 14 days, with Toyota’s fuel cell technology supplying all the required power. 

Baby Lunar Cruiser 

However, unlike the rover, the Baby Lunar Cruiser comes with a split tailgate design at the rear. Its adjustable spaceframe seats promise premium interior flexibility and comfort for even the longest trips. There is also a rear seat that allows it to accommodate more passengers.

The concept of the Baby Lunar Cruiser came from CALTY Design Research, the American outpost of the automobile company’s global design network. The company recently celebrated 50 Years of Toyota Innovation and Creativity in the United States.

Classic meets advanced 

In terms of the design, the company combines classic insights from the original FJ40 cruiser with new technology. For instance, both models have white-painted roofs to cool the cabin. 

This could be crucial for the Baby Land Cruiser, considering the high temperatures on the moon: up to 121°C (250°F) in the sun and -128°C (-200°F) in the shade.

It remains to be seen whether Toyota will implement some of the advanced tech in the CALTY design concept in its future vehicles, particularly those made for off-the-road applications.

Mission dearMoon 

CALTY’s design couldn’t have come at a better time, as Japan is becoming increasingly interested in the moon and what is in its core. 

Earlier this year, Japanese start-up venture iSpace suffered a setback on its quest to land on the moon when its lunar lander crashed.

Japanese fashion mogul and businessman Yusaka Maezawa has booked a trip around the moon with SpaceX’s Starship later this year. He calls it “mission dearMoon” and hopes to have eight more people aboard.

Japan strives to become the fifth country to successfully land on the moon after the United States, the former Soviet Union, China, and India.

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