• Toyota’s Name For Its New Moon-Ready Off-Roader Is Far From Surprising

You Can’t Send An Off-Road Toyota To the Moon Without It Wearing a Cruiser Badge

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Toyota is a company deeply rooted in habit. It’s been steadily pushing hydrogen as an alternative fuel source, and let’s not even get started on how it has to slap a TRD badge on almost everything it can. This “habit” in mind, however, is exactly why the name Toyota has chosen for its new moon-ready off-roader makes so much sense that we can’t believe we didn’t predict it. It’s called the Lunar Cruiser, and while that makes sense from a general perspective, there’s actually more thought that went into the name than you might think.

The Toyota Lunar Cruiser – Following In the Footsteps of the Original Land Cruiser

Outside of the obvious Lunar Cruiser – Land Cruiser connection, Toyota chose the name because the Lunar Cruiser is tasked with the same mission the original Land Cruiser had to tackle: it has to bring its passengers home alive.

Add in the fact that it’s the most off-road-worthy vehicle that Toyota has ever built, and the FJ Cruiser throwback trim on the front end, and it makes more sense than ever.

Toyota's Name For Its New Moon-Ready Off-Roader Is Far From Surprising
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The Lunar Cruiser is being built in partnership with JAXA, aka the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency – basically NASA but with a Japanese twist. It is powered by a combination of hydrogen (big shocker there) and solar power, the latter of which will supplement the hydrogen fuel supply thanks to its massive solar array that can be deployed on-demand and (assumingly) when the Cruiser isn’t in use. This is a very important part of its design, as it needs to be able to transport two astronauts across 6,200 miles worth of lunar surface in what will be the most important exploration mission in human history. With a major lack of water on the moon, which means no way to generate hydrogen, the solar panels could, quite literally, end up being a lifesaver.

Toyota's Name For Its New Moon-Ready Off-Roader Is Far From Surprising
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What’s even cooler is that the Lunar Cruiser will land before Astronauts even get to the moon.

Once humans land, the Cruiser will drive itself to the astronauts and give them a proper greeting.

Once they embark, they’ll head to the north and south pole in search of frozen water. The Cruiser will be pressurized to the astronauts will be able to remove their spacesuits and get comfy. Well, as comfortable as you can be in a 140 square-foot cabin, that is. But, we won’t hear about the Lunar Cruiser maiden voyage for quite some time, as it’s not due to head to the moon until 2030.

Toyota's Name For Its New Moon-Ready Off-Roader Is Far From Surprising
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With that in mind, however, the Toyota Lunar Cruiser could be a big milestone in the path that is humans colonizing the moon. JAXA is apparently studying how the pressurized Cruiser could help a group of companies known as Team Japan create an entire society on the surface of the moon. The Cruiser’s first exploration mission will help determine just what needs to be done and how things can be refined to make that happen. Between now and 2030, Toyota and JAXA engineers are busy studying various simulations, determining what type of tires are needed, and working with virtual reality and scale models to figure out how to lay out the cabin.

Robert Moore
Robert Moore
Editor-in-Chief and Automotive Expert - robert@topspeed.com
Robert has been an auto enthusiast his entire life. He started working cars at a young age, learning the basics from his father in the home garage on the weekends. As time went on, Robert became more and more interested in cars and convinced his father to teach him how to drive when he was just 13 years old. Robert continued working on cars in his free time and learned as much as he could about engines, transmissions, and car electrical systems, something that only fed his curiosity more and eventually led him to earn a bachelors degree in automotive technology with a primary focus on engine performance and transmission rebuilding.  Read full bio
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