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August 28, 2020

Meet Toyota's Newest Vehicle: the Lunar Cruiser

The Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) and Toyota Motor Corporation (Toyota) announced that its manned pressurized lunar rover will have a very apt name: Lunar Cruiser. 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, as well as 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 with an expected launch date in the latter half of the 2020s.

Furthermore, as part of their efforts to create new partners with “Team Japan,” JAXA and Toyota have been discussing 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.

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