Who Needs a Land Cruiser When the Lunar Cruiser Is a Thing?

Colin
By Colin Wood
Sep 4, 2020 | Toyota, Lunar Cruiser

The Toyota Land Cruiser may work great here on earth, but the moon? That's a whole other challenge entirely. That's why Toyota has been working with the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) to develop a go-anywhere vehicle for driving on the moon.

Okay, that's not entirely totally true.

The name was specifically chosen because of "the familiar feeling it offers the people involved in the development and manufacture of the vehicle prototype as part of the joint research project as well as the familiarity it will provide the general public," as well as to better represent the "quality, durability, and reliability expected of the pressurized lunar rover."

The Lunar Cruiser has been a joint effort between Toyota and JAXA since June of last year, with an "expected launch date in the latter half of the 2020s."

So, when do you think the Lexus model will come out?

Read the full press release below:

Tokyo, Japan, August 28, 2020—The Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) and Toyota Motor Corporation (Toyota) announced today that they have named the manned pressurized rover which is currently under joint research by JAXA and Toyota the "LUNAR CRUISER" as "nickname". JAXA and Toyota previously announced and have been conducting joint research on a manned, pressurized lunar rover that uses fuel cell electric vehicle (FCEV) technologies.

The nickname LUNAR CRUISER was chosen because of the familiar feeling it offers the people involved in the development and manufacture of the vehicle prototype as part of the joint research project as well as the familiarity it will provide the general public. The name, which references the Toyota Land Cruiser SUV, was decided upon based on the 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," especially true for the lunar rover as it will be traversing the harsh environment of the moon's surface.

JAXA and Toyota signed a joint research agreement to work on a manned pressurized lunar rover last year, on June 13, 2019, with an expected launch date in the latter half of the 2020s. Together, they are working to manufacture test parts for each technological element, and the prototype rover itself, during this fiscal year (FY2020). The work involves the use of simulations to confirm power and heat dissipation performance while driving, the manufacture and assessment of prototype tires, and the use of virtual reality and full-scale models to consider the layout of equipment in the cabin of the LUNAR CRUISER.
Furthermore, as part of their efforts to create new partners with "Team Japan," JAXA and Toyota have been discussing laterally with a variety of industries via study meetings based on the theme of "a lunar society pioneered by the manned pressurized rover" (also known as Team Japan Study Meeting). The meetings focus on how the manned pressurized rover becomes the starting point of a vision of a future lunar surface-based society while discussing the challenges associated with the creation of this type of society.

JAXA and Toyota will gather the knowledge, experience and technological capabilities of enterprises from across a variety of industries in their attempt to realize their dream of sustaining continuous activities on the surface of the moon as "Team Japan," moving forward.

*The Team Japan Working Group, led by JAXA, Toyota and Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, Ltd., was launched in August 2019. Three working groups and one session on the co-creation of a lunar society have been held to date, with about 100 companies registered.

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