Several automakers have already jumped on the bandwagon and presented concepts and ideas that could help the Artemis astronauts establish a long-term presence on the Moon. Toyota joined forces with the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) to develop a pressurized rover that would allow the crew to ride inside without needing their spacesuits.
Recently, GM announced that it's working on a lunar rover project together with Lockheed Martin to create an electric Moon buggy capable of exploring the rugged terrain and withstanding the harsh conditions.
Now, we're seeing another daring concept. This time, the solution comes from Xtend Design, a London-based architecture and design company focused on interdisciplinary projects for both Earth and space. Over the years, the team has been creating incredible designs for major agencies such as NASA or the European Science Foundation that vision villages on the Moon and 3D-printed habitats for a moon base.
This allowed guests to experience what it feels like to be on the lunar surface from our home and see what astronauts will have to face once they land on the Moon. The Luniaq is the creation of space architect Tomas Rousek, who formerly worked at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory on designs for missions to the Moon, Mars, and asteroids.
The rover's front design was inspired by Skoda's Enyaq, and it is based on NASA's MMSEV (Multi-Mission Space Exploration Vehicle) platform. The result? An electric lunar vehicle with large windows capable of seating up to four astronauts.
The windows are made from transparent aluminum. If that sounds familiar, that's because you've probably seen this tech in a "Star Trek" movie. While scientists are not actually capable of replicating the aluminum used in the fictional world of "Star Trek," they can get pretty close to it in reality by using transparent ceramics made from aluminum compounds.
In the front, the Luniaq will feature an additional window positioned in the bottom part. This will allow astronauts to see the terrain ahead. They'll also be able to see their surroundings using stereoscopic cameras.
The vehicle's wheels will be based on Michelin's Tweel design. The tires will have flexible spokes that can absorb bumps and they won't fear puncturing as the technology doesn't use compressed air.
Power is received from solid-state batteries that can be charged from the roof-mounted UltraFlex solar panels. Apart from the solar panels, the roof will feature radiators for cooling down and antennas needed for communication with the lunar base or Earth. Remote and autonomous control of the rover will also be possible.
For now, the Luniaq is just a concept that lives through the renderings provided by the Xtend Design team. We'll have yet to see what the first LTV will actually look like.